July 17, 2020 / 1:58 PM / 23 days ago

Trump wants tuition help for private school students in next coronavirus bill, Conway says

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump touts administration efforts to curb federal regulations during an event on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, U.S., July 16, 2020. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump would like to see tuition aid for private-school students in the next coronavirus relief bill, top adviser Kellyanne Conway said on Friday, adding the White House will release guidance on reopening schools amid the pandemic this week or early next week.

“Five million kids across this country are not in public schools, roughly, and many of those parents have no certainty right now whether those kids are going to be able to go back to school because they may not be able to afford it,” Conway told reporters at the White House.

More than 45 million students attend public schools, funded mostly by states and local governments, according to the Education Department.

“So 10% - we’re looking at 10% of the money pretty much going to nonpublic schools,” she said, adding that “$13 billion or so has already been invested in the schools.”

Congress and the White House are currently in the throes of negotiating another, “Phase Four” relief package as millions of Americans remain unemployed and a soaring number of coronavirus cases strains the U.S. economy.

Congressional Democrats have proposed a $350 billion plan that includes money for minority communities to bolster childcare, healthcare and housing and are also calling for a $1 trillion aid package for state and local governments.

The Republican president, meanwhile, has talked about payroll tax cuts, a bonus for people who return to work, and business tax breaks for spending on restaurants and businesses. His administration is also advocating that children return to school in the fall, with Vice President Mike Pence promising to soon release a plan on health measures for schools.

Conway said she did not know if Trump plans to send his teenage son back to his private school when classes resume, but she said that so far her two children anticipate going back to theirs.

Reporting by Lisa Lambert and Makini Brice; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Jonathan Oatis

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