LEWISTON — Councilors could settle the issue of paying for parochial school busing at Tuesday’s workshop meeting. At least one councilor favors ending the practice once and for all.

“The time has come for this past practice to end,” Councilor John Butler said. “We cannot afford it anymore.”

The city provides bus service for kindergarten-to-sixth-grade students at Trinity Catholic School. The students are picked up alongside Lewiston’s public school students and the practice costs the city $125,600 for three full-time buses.

The city also provides a shuttle for students at St. Dominic High School on Gracelawn Road in Auburn, but Lewiston Finance Director Heather Hunter said the school reimburses the city for costs associated with that shuttle — about $140 per month.

City Administrator Ed Barrett said the item is a part of the council’s 5:30 p.m. workshop agenda. The workshop will be followed by a regular council meeting at 7 p.m.

Lewiston has paid for some part of the parochial school expenses for years. It began reducing that in 2009-10 when councilors decided they would no longer pay for textbooks and testing for private school students.

Butler said he has received plenty of emails since he began calling for ending the parochial school buses last month. Some of it has come from parochial school parents opposed to the change, but much of it has supported the cuts.

“But we don’t provide buses to other private schools in the area,” Butler said. “We don’t provide buses to Waynefleet or to Hebron Academy, so why should we provide them to Auburn?”

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