By Celine Klosterman
In the Davenport Diocese, 965 students will attend Catholic schools in the 2012-2013 academic year thanks in part to School Tuition Organization (STO) grants.
This is the sixth year grants have been awarded since the Iowa Legislature passed the Educational Opportunities Act in 2006, which let individuals earn a 65 percent tax credit on their gifts to STOs. The law allows a quarter of available tax credits to go to corporations, which also can earn a 65 percent tax credit on their donations.
Grant recipients must earn less than three times the federal poverty level.
Iowa caps the total amount of tax credits given to STO donors statewide each year; in 2011 the cap was $7.5 million. Each STO in the state may thus raise a limited amount of money, 90 percent of which must go toward grants.
Below are details about grants awarded through the two STOs in the diocese:
STO of Southeast Iowa (Diocesan schools outside Scott County)
Number of students awarded grants for 2012-13 school year: 492
Number of applications received for grants: 4 62 representing 793 students
Number of applicants qualified: 585
Total amount of grants given: $763,078 (including funds carried over from 2010)
Total amount taxpayers donated to the STO in 2011: $749,108
Total amount donors received in tax credits: $486,920
Source: Steve Roling, executive directorof the STO of Southeast Iowa
Mississippi Valley STO (Scott County Catholic schools)
Number of students awarded STO grants for 2012-13 school year: 473
Number of applications received for grants: 322 representing 583 students
Total amount of grants given: about $580,000
Total amount taxpayers donated to the STO in 2011: $643,909
Total amount donors received in tax credits: $418,541
Source: Liz King, MVSTO program coordinator
Note: 56 students who did not qualify for the Mississippi Valley STO have so far received financial aid through the Scott County schools’ Family Tuition Plan.
The state authorized the STO of Southeast Iowa to receive contributions of up to $909,194 in 2012. To donate, visit www.stoseiowa.org or contact Steve Roling at (563) 391-1845. Donors can restrict their gift to one or more of the nine schools or school systems the STO serves. Those schools include Holy Trinity Catholic Schools in Lee County, Keokuk Catholic Schools, Notre Dame Schools in Burlington, Prince of Peace Catholic School in Clinton, Regina Catholic Education Center in Iowa City, Seton Catholic School in Ottumwa, St. James Elementary in Washington, St. Joseph Catholic School in DeWitt and Saints Mary and Mathias Catholic School in Muscatine.
To donate to the Mississippi Valley STO, visit www.mvsto. org/togive.html or call (563) 326-5313, ext. 228. The STO can accept gifts totaling $744,470 in 2012 and covers five schools. Those schools are All Saints Catholic School, Assumption High School, John F. Kennedy Catholic School and St. Paul the Apostle School in Davenport and Lourdes Catholic School in Bettendorf.
Donations for the current tax year are due Dec. 31.