The Pennsylvania Catholic Conference (PCC) is urging residents across the commonwealth to ask Gov. Tom Wolf and Pa. Secretary of Education Pedro Rivera not to divert funds from the federal CARES Act, the $2.3 trillion emergency aid package enacted March 27 in response to the coronavirus pandemic, from Catholic and nonpublic schools.
Wolf announced May 13 that Pennsylvania’s request for $523.8 million in “one-time federal emergency funds to help schools respond to COVID-19 impacts” had been approved by the U.S. Department of Education under the CARES Act.
The PCC in a statement May 18 said the governor and the Pa. Education Department “are looking to take most of the funding that Congress wants distributed equitably in COVID-19 relief to ALL schools in PA and across the country.”
While the Pa. Catholic Conference cited the federal funding level as $471 million, PCC Education Director Sean McAleer said the state education department “created its own set of rules to distribute that money that blatantly ignores federal guidance. The end result significantly lowers the amounts to be given to Catholic and nonpublic school students.”
He said although the federal aid package calls for $66 million for Catholic and nonpublic schools students, “the Wolf administration is calling for roughly $19 million” for them.
McAleer charged that the administration “is misappropriating some $47 million in federal funds and harming families who have chosen to send their children to Catholic and nonpublic schools.”
“Catholic and nonpublic school students matter,” said McAleer, who added the PCC is asking Wolf and Rivera to follow the federal guidelines.
“In a time when thousands of Pennsylvania’s children and families are suffering and struggling to make ends meet, the administration has chosen to cause further harm by refusing to allocate money as directed by the federal government.”
The PCC offered this link for people to contact Wolf and Rivera and urge them not to divert federal CARES Act funding from Catholic and nonpublic schools.
In a time to build, CatholicPhilly.com connects people and communities
As society emerges from the loss and separation of the pandemic, CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you join in our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103