Congressman Dan Lipinski (IL-3) issued the following statement regarding the updated HEROES Act and the unmet needs of K-12 private school students and their families:
"I am pleased to be joining with my House Democratic colleagues to push a new COVID-19 relief bill which includes funding for K-12 education. Unfortunately, this bill specifically blocks any relief from going to students and families with children in private schools. This is a terrible mistake which should be changed before a final relief package. As I argued in the Chicago Tribune on September 10, we must not leave behind the 6 million students who attend private schools. Many of these schools are in urban areas like Chicago and are vital pillars in their communities, serving low-income and minority families particularly hard hit by COVID-19. As a former teacher, I know how essential it is that we provide relief and stability to all students while this pandemic continues to negatively impact families throughout the nation. If we fail to provide this support to students in private schools we risk educational disruption as students are forced to leave their chosen schools due to financial strain. In addition, more schools will be forced to close their doors and we will see an influx of students into our public-school system at a time when schools are already strained for resources. The easiest way to help these students would be to provide funding to state-certified scholarship granting organizations (SGOs) which would then send money directly to families. The bill that I introduced in the House along with Rep. Bradley Byrne (AL) and Rep. Mark Walker (NC), the School Choice Now Act (H.R. 8100), would provide this funding and could be inserted into the COVID relief package. I am hopeful that we can get a COVID relief bill done and I will continue to fight to make sure no students are left out."