January 2017 Church & State - January 2016

Calif. City Looking To Aid Religious School

  AU admin

Members of a California community’s city council are debating whether to give taxpayer money to a Lutheran school.

Irvine Mayor Steven Choi wants to help Crean Lutheran High School “improve and expand its facilities” by matching donation money that the religious school raises through a fund-raising campaign, reported the Orange County Register.

Some council members on Nov. 22 called the proposal “unfair” – but only because the plan is limited to one private school. They directed council staff to examine other private schools in the city before deciding how to proceed.

At least one council member raised concerns about Choi’s proposal and added that taxpayer money shouldn’t fund private schools.

“There are many private schools in this community, and should government be giving public dollars to private schools?” Irvine Councilwoman Christina Shea said. “I don’t know. I think we need to have that debate.”

The plan could run into legal problems. California’s Constitution contains a provision barring tax aid to sectarian institutions.

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