Kentucky has reportedly spent nearly $18 million to transport students to religious and other private schools via buses.
WDRB reports that most of the taxpayer money was used to bus children to mainly religious schools in over 24 counties during the last six years (video below).
Some local counties even spent matching funds to bus children to private and religious schools.
RawStory.com notes the Kentucky’s Constitution does not allow any taxpayer money to be spent on aiding religious schools:
No portion of any fund or tax now existing, or that may hereafter be raised or levied for educational purposes, shall be appropriated to, or used by, or in aid of, any church, sectarian or denominational school.
"It really is pretty critical for us," Tom Hamilton, principal of Bethlehem High School (of the Catholic Archdiocese of Louisville), told the Lexington Herald-Leader. "Bus transportation is a high-ticket item. This doesn't pay for all of our costs, but it pays for a lot of it."
State Rep. Kelly Flood countered, “Do I have a problem with private school students getting public money to get to private schools? Yes, I do."
“These are families who have chosen not to attend public schools, which is certainly their right, but we are under no obligation as a state to pay for their choice,” Flood added. “Meanwhile, the transportation needs of our public school systems are pressing and growing, and I would like for that money to be redirected to help our public schools.”
Catholic Conference of Kentucky Executive Director Rev. Patrick Delahanty believes the state has an obligation to bus children to private schools.
"We believe parents have a right to choose a school other than public and if they do not have the means to pay for that cost themselves, then the state, in our opinion, has an obligation to help them with it," claimed Delahanty. "That's why I don't feel at all badly about asking for a small sum of money for transportation."
Delahanty says Kentucky parents “frankly don’t trust the government, and they don’t want their kids to be in a government school, brainwashed by secularism.”
The Kentucky Supreme Court ruled 4-3 in 1999 that using taxpayer money to bus kids to religious schools was legal “as long as the aid provided flows directly and exclusively to the child and only indirectly, if at all, to the parochial school.”