Congress passed a new round of assistance on December 21st, 2021. This round includes EANS, Emergency Assistance to Nonpublic Schools. The deadline, February 8th, is fast approaching for Governor Polis’s to claim EANS funding, federal relief for private schools impacted by the pandemic.
From Denver Catholic:
“‘Congress’ new COVID-19 relief bill finally provides special funding for our Catholic schools and families in dire need of assistance,’ said Brittany Vessely, Executive Director of the Colorado Catholic Conference. ‘The catch is that we need Governor Polis to opt-in to the program! It is crucial that Gov. Polis request this funding immediately so our schools, students, teachers, and families are given the help they have needed all year. The pandemic impacted everyone equally – we are in this together.’”
EANS funding is for all private schools, not just Catholic schools. Each state’s allotment is based on the number of children attending private schools who are at or below 185% of poverty. For Colorado, the funds would equate to $28.5 million dollars, with a cap of $200k per private school.
Private schools are also eligible to be reimbursed for past expenses related to COVID-19 if they apply for EANS. Eligible expenses include necessities such as supplies to sanitize, disinfect, and clean school facilities, personal protective equipment, improving ventilation systems, including windows or portable air purification systems to ensure healthy air in the non- public school.
Betsy DeVos, Secretary of Education, sent every state Governor a letter on January 8th. The letters instruct each governor to apply for EANS as quickly as possible on the website provided. Decisions would be made in twenty-four hours or less normally.
The Certification and Agreement that Polis must sign and submit for Colorado to receive $28 million dollars is loaded to the Department of Education website, and there are no clauses in the sixteen pages that would cause harm to public education or any other constituents. EANS is free money that hasn’t been claimed by Polis. If the Governor is worried about religion, the funding is non-secular and not created specifically for Catholic schools; the money comes without any ideas of beliefs.
Polis in October notoriously lost a federal lawsuit to several Colorado churches that claimed Polis’ church lockdowns infringed upon their first amendment rights. Furthermore, Polis allowed several businesses such as liquor stores, casinos, and dispensaries to operate, arbitrarily deciding the definition of “essential.”
While Polis, who is Jewish, may have his differences with churches, the funding would benefit his children’s school. When Governor Polis was asked where his children attend school during his 2018 Colorado Gubernatorial campaign, Polis said that his family found an “excellent private school.”
Several websites have set-up places for people to write to Governor Polis to urge him to accept the federal funding.