Estrella Delgado is a student at St. Margaret Mary Catholic School in Wichita, one of the schools that benefits from SCS and the St. Katharine Drexel Catholic School Fund. (Advance file photo)

Support for Catholic Schools received a lot of support last year from wallets and purses.
Over $2 million was donated in 2017 to Support for Catholic Schools, a scholarship granting organization incorporated by the Diocese of Wichita.
Mike Wescott, director of Development and Planned Giving for the diocese, said he was extremely happy about the results after SCS’s first year.
Because of the generosity of those who contributed, 66 students were able to get a Catholic school education when they otherwise might not have been able to do so, he said.
“These families struggle financially and we’re giving them a Catholic education,” Wescott said. “And our schools are benefiting hugely, hugely.”
A total of $2.1 million went to diocesan Catholic schools as a result of the Support for Catholic Schools along with funds from the St. Katharine Drexel Catholic School Fund and a third, smaller, program.
The SCS board will have awarded $300,000 in scholarships for this school year. The amount could increase to $600,000 next school year and $900,000 the year after.
“So, the number of students increases every year,” Wescott said. “A lot of that has to do with the way the state set this up. The eligible students have to be entering kindergarten or transferring into the school for the first time and come from what the state calls a Priority One or Focus One school, which is a school that has not met the state educational performance benchmarks.”
The future of the program can be modified by the Kansas legislature, but Wescott said he is hopeful the program won’t be changed in the next two years.
To be eligible for SCS financial assistance, schools must have students who qualify as an at-risk pupil. At-risk pupils are defined as those eligible for free lunch under the National School Lunch Act and live in a specifically defined public school attendance area. Additionally, the students would need to be starting in the Catholic school as a kindergartener or would have transferred into an eligible Catholic school from a specifically defined public school attendance area. About half of the attendance areas are in Wichita, but there are also eligible areas in Hutchinson, Pittsburg, and Fort Scott.
Details about SCS
The Kansas Legislature has allocated $10 million per year for tax credits to individuals or corporations that contribute to scholarship granting organizations, known as SGOs. Donors to an SGO will receive a 70 percent tax credit toward their state income tax bill. For example, a contribution of $5,000, would reduce the donor’s state taxes by $3,500. And then at the federal level, an income tax deduction can be taken according to the donor’s tax bracket.
The Diocese of Wichita’s scholarship granting organization is named Support for Catholic Schools, Inc. SCS was granted tax exempt status in 2016. The corporation is governed by a board of directors with Michael Wescott, director of the diocesan office of Development and Planned Giving, serving as its chief advisor.

Interested in giving to Catholic schools through SCS?
For more information or to make a tax deductible contribution to Support for Catholic Schools, contact Mike Wescott at 316-269-3917, at wescottm@CatholicDioceseOfWichita.org, or by mail at Office of Development, 424 N. Broadway, Wichita, KS 67202.