HARRISBURG, PA – The Pennsylvania Catholic Conference today highlighted testimony given to the PA House Education Committee by Dr. Philip Fromuth, the Superintendent of Catholic Education for the Diocese of Allentown and the Moderator of the Education Department of the PCC. The committee hosted an informational meeting this morning on safely reopening schools in the fall.
Dr. Fromuth pointed to several important issues affecting the 140,000 Catholic school students across Pennsylvania, with nursing at the top of the list.
“Nursing for non-public schools in Pennsylvania has slipped to measuring heights and weights, eye exams and record-keeping for immunizations,” Fromuth told lawmakers. “Is this the best this Commonwealth can do for their youth on an ongoing basis, yet alone in a pandemic?”
Fromuth also talked of the deep concerns that are being raised about efforts in PA to take federal CARES Act money away from non-public schools. The U.S. Department of Education has directed Catholic and non-public schools to receive about $66-million.
“But under the directive from PA Secretary of Education Rivera, non-public schools in Pennsylvania will receive only about $19 million,” Fromuth said. “Students, families, and schools in all 67 counties in this Commonwealth have been suffering from the COVID-19 pandemic and (federal) funds are to be used to help schools and will be essential as all schools look to re-open.”
Eric Failing, the Executive Director of the PCC, also re-emphasized the fact that the pandemic and resulting shutdown have affected -all- schools.
“The fall-out may be even more acute for Catholic schools, which rely so heavily upon tuition,” he said. “Many people around the state have been out of work, which may affect their ability to pay tuition. That would be a huge concern for public schools if many of those students are forced back into their home districts.”