Polk County gave private, religious schools $844,000

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — An Iowa county gave $844,000 in grants to ten private, religious schools despite a state law prohibiting public funding for such schools.

The Des Moines Register reports that Polk County gave the money in 2012 and 2013 to nine local Catholic schools and one Christian school by giving the grants to a corporation that passed the money to the schools.

The money given to the schools came from gambling revenue generated by the Prairie Meadows Casino and Hotel.

Mark Stringer of the ACLU of Iowa says that it is unacceptable for state tax money to be intentionally sent to religious schools.

Polk County Attorney John Sarcone says he believes the grants to the private schools were legal, and he said the nonprofit wasn’t set up to get around state law.

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