Catholic school parents fight to save reimbursements for students’ commutes: State-funded $12 million program in danger

Hundreds of Catholic school parents are fighting to save a program that helps cover bus and gas costs for their students’ commute. The $12 million transportation-reimbursement program, funded by the Illinois State Board of Education, assists families who live more than 1.5 miles from their school and lack access to a free school bus. According to the state, more than 117,000 students get the reimbursement, with the majority — 70 percent — attending private schools. Many parents, like Isabel Guzman, use the reimbursement to cover gas costs. Guzman drives sons Julian, 6, and Joseph, 5, from their Berwyn home to St. Agnes of Bohemia Catholic School in Little Village on her way to work. She said she is reimbursed about $200 per year.