Package Includes $2.75 Billion for Parochial K-12 Schools
The Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America (Orthodox Union) welcomed Congressional leaders’ agreement Monday on a COVID-19 relief package that includes many important and critical measures such as substantial funds to support America’s K-12 schools, including $2.75 billion to support Jewish, Catholic, and other nonpublic day schools.
In the American Jewish community, there are almost 1,000 Jewish day schools educating approximately 300,000 students and employing many thousands of teachers and other staff. As with so many other institutions, the impact of the COVID-19 crisis has been terribly disruptive and costly to these schools.
The Orthodox Union strongly advocated to Congress that a comprehensive COVID-19 relief package had to provide support to these nonpublic schools, among others, as a matter of practicality and equity. As a result, the programs in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, passed in March, included significant support for nonpublic schools. But more support is needed in this ongoing crisis.
The new relief package Congress is expected to approve today includes many important provisions to address the current challenges, such as:
- a second round of Paycheck Protection Program loans (which nonprofits can access)
- an extension of unemployment insurance support
- greater funding for food assistance
- more funds for vaccine distribution and COVID-19 testing.
The provision supporting nonpublic K-12 schools tracks what was proposed in the bipartisan COVID-19 relief proposal put forward last week by Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine), Joe Manchin (D-WVa), and others. It was incorporated into the final legislative package though the efforts and negotiations of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky); Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY); House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif).