News Release: Catholic Conference Grateful to Senate for Passing Federal COVID Funding to Support Catholic Schools

The front of a school building in spring

March 17, 2021

(Lansing, Mich.) — Michigan Catholic Conference is expressing its gratitude to the Michigan Senate today for passing legislation that appropriates some $87 million in federal dollars to assist Catholic and other nonpublic schools in the state with costs associated with the COVID pandemic. Senate Bill 29, which already passed the House of Representatives, now requires a concurrence vote from the House as the Senate amended the bill today to include an additional $8 million for breakfast and lunch reimbursements.

“Catholic and other nonpublic schools in the state quickly adjusted to the pandemic to provide safe in-person learning, yet the virus left in its path a greater need for PPE, enhanced ventilation, and other health and safety protections in schools,” said MCC Education Policy Advocate Paul Stankewitz. “On behalf of hundreds of schools and over 100,000 Michigan children enrolled in nonpublic schools across the state, Michigan Catholic Conference is grateful to the Senate for passing federal emergency assistance for nonpublic schools. Our hope is that the House will quickly concur with the Senate bill and send the legislation along to the governor, whose office applied for the federal funds last month.”

When Congress passed the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Act in December 2020, the legislation authorized $2.75 billion nationwide for the Emergency Assistance to Nonpublic Schools program to address educational disruptions caused by COVID-19. The State of Michigan, should Senate Bill 29 become law, would realize some $87 million for the EANS program through the U.S. Department of Education, which allocates funding based on the state’s share of 5–17 year old children who are from families at or below 185 percent of the federal poverty level. Qualified nonpublic schools must apply for funding that is evaluated and approved by the Michigan Department of Education. Qualified expenditures derived from EANS federal funds include Personal Protection Equipment, learning recovery programs, improvement of ventilation systems, professional development and training to mitigate the spread of a virus, and supplies to sanitize and disinfect classroom settings, among others.

Michigan Catholic Conference is the official public policy voice of the Catholic Church in this state.

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