News Release: Legislature Urged to Fund Health and Safety Program for Nonpublic Schools After Policy is Excluded from Executive Budget Recommendation

MCC Hopeful Biden Administration Will Allocate Federal EANS Dollars to Michigan for COVID-Related Nonpublic School Expenses

Four children wearing protective masks and school uniforms walking in single file

February 11, 2021

(Lansing, Mich.) — Following today’s Fiscal Year 2022 Executive Budget Recommendation presentation before a joint meeting of the Senate and House Appropriation Committees, Michigan Catholic Conference is encouraging the Legislature to appropriate funding to reimburse nonpublic schools for complying with health and safety requirements mandated by the State of Michigan, as the Governor’s FY ‘22 budget proposal does not fund the existing policy. At the same time, following a recent request from the State, MCC is hopeful that the Biden administration will approve some $86 million in federal dollars to assist Michigan nonpublic schools with COVID-related expenses.

“The Michigan Supreme Court recently issued a ruling that, together with a favorable opinion from the Court of Appeals, permits the Legislature to reimburse nonpublic schools without concern for the state constitution,” said David Maluchnik, MCC Vice President for Communications. “We believe the Governor’s budget missed an opportunity to further protect all students in Michigan schools with critical public health and safety funding to help offset state mandated requirements. Reimbursing nonpublic schools for these expenses will further enhance safety for tens of thousands of school children, many of whom have been attending in person for much of the pandemic.”

While the Catholic Conference is encouraging the Legislature to appropriate state funding for the nonpublic school reimbursement policy, the organization is hopeful that the Biden administration will approve a recent request from the State to the U.S. Department of Education to receive some $86 million in federal dollars approved by Congress last year to assist nonpublic schools with expenses related to COVID. Specifically, $2.75 billion has been set aside for nonpublic schools from the $900 billion coronavirus relief package. Each state is required to opt-in to the Emergency Assistance to Nonpublic Schools program.

“We are grateful for the request from the Governor’s office for Michigan to opt-in to the federal EANS program, which recognizes the fact that nonpublic schools are an integral part of education policy both in Michigan and across the country,” said Maluchnik.

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

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