Polk County Receipts Show Grant Money Spent on Technology for Schools, Not Religion

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DES MOINES, Iowa  --  On Monday, Channel 13 got a firsthand look at the financial records that have come under scrutiny in recent weeks, after a report published in the Des Moines Register raised questions about whether the Polk County Board of Supervisors had violated the law by giving public money to private religious schools through a non-profit.

The Supervisors said they had the receipts and could account for every dime that was spent on technology for religious schools using grant money, and that they were willing to show a Channel 13 reporter those receipts.

The Grant Administrator for the Board of Supervisors provided two manila folders worth of receipts, invoices, and other financial documents. The documents, in great detail, account for the purchases that were made on technology for religious schools. The money came from revenues generated by Prairie Meadows Casino and Hotel.

The paperwork backs up what the Supervisors said last week: the $844,000 in grant money that was given to religious schools in 2012 and 2013 was spent on technology and equipment, not for religious purposes.

"We are pretty strict," said Tom Hockensmith, Supervisor for Polk County's 4th District. "We have strict guidelines when it comes to reporting on any of those types of allocations, and our Grant Administrator goes through those things with a fine-tooth comb to make sure, and that specific grant was for targeted for that classroom technology only. That's the only thing that it could be used for, and as you can see by looking at the receipts, that is exactly what it was used for."

To read the full statement on this matter, released by the Polk County Supervisors, click here.

To read the full statement on this matter, released by the Diocese of Des Moines, click here.

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