Pa. Catholic Conference appeals diversion of coronavirus relief from private schools

The Pennsylvania Catholic Conference is asking the U.S. Department of Education to reverse state authorities’ decisions that the conference says gives insufficient coronavirus relief funds to Catholic and other private schools.

“We are appealing the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s decision because Congress was clear when it unanimously passed the CARES Act education funding,” Sean McAleer, education director for the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference, told CNA June 9. “The funding is emergency funding and the allocations were to be made to all teachers and students negatively affected by the Coronavirus pandemic. Since Governor Wolf closed all schools in Pennsylvania. public and private, all teachers and students were affected by Governor Wolf’s order.”

The funding came from the $523.8 million in K-12 aid Pennsylvania received through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, known as the CARES Act, passed by Congress in March. The non-public schools are not funded directly. Rather, the money goes to school districts or intermediate units, which then perform services for private schools.

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