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Lawmakers weigh cash grants for kids


A daily newsletter by Spotlight PA
Your Postmaster: Jordan Wolman
October 6, 2020
Cash grants for kids, high court says no thanks, no evidence of election fraud, Toomey makes it official, and female Eagle Scouts. Happy Tuesday!

The coronavirus is reshaping education across the state, and it's also fueling the ongoing debate between public, charter, and private education. That was on full display during a Senate committee hearing to consider a proposal to give 500,000 children $1,000 education grants

Supporters say the money would be a critical lifeline for families paying for tutoring, laptops, and private school education. Opponents say it's an attempt to capitalize on the pandemic to expand vouchers and pour more public money into private education

The Context: COVID Stimulus Watch, a project of the nonprofit Good Jobs First, found that in Pennsylvania "more than 270 private schools [received] an estimated $209 million in [Paycheck Protection Program] loans, or $768,000 per school."

The state's more than 3,000 public schools, on the other hand, received $523 million in grants from the federal government — about $174,000 per school. 

The proposal to create the $1,000 grants would represent half of the $1 billion in CARES Act money the legislature and Gov. Tom Wolf have left.

Lawmakers have already spent $2.6 billion flexible federal dollars on nursing home aid, rental assistance, business grants, and other programs meant to offset the harm of COVID-19.  

“As a society, we have a responsibility and a duty to care for the most vulnerable individual members of our society and when we fail to do that, we fail as a society."

–– Daisy Ayllon, an attorney for the family of Ricardo Muñoz, a Lancaster man who was fatally shot by a city police officer
POST IT: Thank you, Claudia M., for submitting this shot of a soybean field near Norristown Farm Park, which she says she loves for its beauty and history. Send us your hidden gems, use the hashtag #PAGems, or tag us on Instagram at @spotlightpennsylvania.
CASE BY CASE: Bloomberg reports the U.S. Supreme Court has rejected a challenge to Gov. Tom Wolf's COVID-19 business closures, which were lifted earlier this year. No, this isn't the federal case that found Wolf's shutdown order and directive limiting crowd sizes unconstitutional. That's a whole different case. 

MORE ALLEGATIONS: An additional 13 people say they were sexually assaulted as children by staff of Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health in Chester County. The new lawsuit follows an investigation by The Philadelphia Inquirer that detailed similar abuse against 41 children.   

NOTHING TO SEE HERE: State and local officials continue to push back against claims that the upcoming election will be marred by fraud, PennLive reports. The state's top elections official told a federal judge Sunday that President Donald Trump's campaign had failed to produce any evidence that new measures around mail-in voting would result in fraud.

SPRING BROKEN: As Penn State's main campus in Centre County reports more coronavirus cases, the university has canceled spring break and will delay the start of the spring semester. Meanwhile in West Chester, officials have declared a state of emergency after a rise in cases among university-age students. 

IT'S OFFICIALLY OFFICIAL: Sen. Pat Toomey confirmed what sources said Sunday: He will not seek re-election or the governorship once his term ends in 2022. What's next? The Post-Gazette has a list of Republicans and Democrats in the conversation to run for the seat.

EAST V. WEST: The Eagles and Steelers are set to square off for a Week 5 matchup in the Steel City this Sunday. The Eagles, coming off an impressive win, open as a touchdown underdog

PHILLY BOY MAKES GOOD: Famous person and Pennsylvania native Bradley Cooper filmed a PSA about how to vote in the commonwealth. Sadly, there's no Lady Gaga cameo. 

WE DO: The coronavirus has derailed many couples' fancy, grand wedding plans. But here in Pennsylvania, lovebirds can tie the knot themselves by simply obtaining a self-uniting marriage license. Here are the basics.

PIONEERS: Two Lancaster County sisters are part of the first group of young women to become Eagle Scouts, scouting's highest level. The Boy Scouts opened their ranks to girls last year. 

A WHITE WINTER? Forecasters are out with predictions for winter in Pennsylvania. You'll either love it or hate it.

BE COUNTED: There's still time to complete the census if you haven't done so already. The deadline was extended to Oct. 31.

Unscramble and send your answer to scrambler@spotlightpa.org. We'll shout out the winners here, and one each week will get some Spotlight PA swag.

Yesterday's answer: Scarecrow

Congrats to our daily winners: John C., Art W., Tracey C., George D., Craig W., Kirk W., Ron P., Thomas B., Theodore W., Beth M., Lynne E., Patricia R., Elijah R., Lynne P., Jill A.S., Brandie K., Irene R., Chris M., Alex L., Dianne K., David W., Joel S., Carol D., Jeffery S., Karen W., Stuart K., Kathleen M., Craig E., Chris W., John H., Chip. K, Ann and John, and Daniel G.
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