Private schools across Oklahoma have qualified for more than $63 million in federal relief aid, the latest data shows.

The recovery dollars are coming from three programs:

* The newest, Emergency Assistance to Nonpublic Schools, allocated $31 million to Oklahoma to help schools address pandemic-related disruptions. More than 50 schools applied and qualified for that program, which reimburses for purchases of items like sanitation supplies, personal protective equipment, ventilation systems, staff training and redeveloping student instruction for remote learning.

Congress authorized the program through the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act. The state Department of Education is distributing the funds.

* Private schools in Oklahoma have also qualified for at least $22.9 million through the Paycheck Protection Program, a federal relief effort intended to help small businesses and nonprofits retain and pay their employees. The aid is given as loans, which are fully or partially forgiven if the businesses keep employee counts and wages stable.

Private schools that received a Paycheck Protection Program loan after Dec. 27, 2020, were not eligible for Emergency Assistance to Nonpublic Schools.

* Additionally, Gov. Kevin Stitt in 2020 created a temporary education relief program to distribute $10 million in tuition grants to private school students called the Stay in School Fund. The fund gave out 1,893 awards averaging $5,132 each.

Last week, Stitt’s office fulfilled a request by Oklahoma Watch made Jan. 26 for enrollment at the nearly 100 private schools in that program.

A combined 28,000 students attended these schools this year, the data shows. That figure includes all students at most, but not all, private schools across Oklahoma.

The schools ranged in enrollment from 10 students to over 1,000.

In Tahlequah, Shiloh Christian School had 40 students enrolled in 2020-21. It received. $42,000 through the Stay in School Program; $61,088 through the Paycheck Protection Program; and $57,232 through Emergency Assistance to Nonpublic Schools. The enrollment numbers for Cookson Hills Christian School in Kansas, Oklahoma, were not available. It received $169,407 from the Emergency Assistance to Nonpublic Schools program.

Search or sort the full table on Oklahoma Watch.

In some instances, a related entity — such as a church that operates a private school — received a Paycheck Protection Program loan. Those amounts are not reflected in the table.


Oklahoma Watch is a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that produces in-depth and investigative content on public-policy issues facing the state. For more Oklahoma Watch content, go to oklahomawatch.org.

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