By- Shivachandra Boosa
Several Democratic-led states and therefore the District of Columbia have linked during a lawsuit against Education Secretary Betsy Devos, accusing the Trump administration of trying to unlawfully redirect pandemic relief funds from public schools to private schools. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra publicized the lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. Michigan, Maine, New Mexico, and Wisconsin have also linked.
Last month, the Education Department put out a rule saying that private schools should advantage from a representative share of the more than $13 billion in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act assigned for public schools. Becerra contests that’s an unlawful interpretation of the CARES act, which allows private schools to urge an inconsistent amount of Title fund — traditionally reserved for low-income students.
Even though a part of those funds are allocated to private schools to grant “equitable services” to students, the department’s interpretation allows it to count all students for purposes of the funding formula rather than just those that meet the criteria for Title I assistance, consistent with the lawsuit.
“Today’s announcement is about stopping the Trump administration’s latest effort to steal from working families to offer it to the very privileged,” Becerra said, adding the rule could put $1.6 billion in aid allocated to his state’s public schools in jeopardy.
In Michigan, officials said it could cost their public schools $16 million. Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul said it might redirect nearly $4.2 million “away from taxpayer-funded public schools in our poorest school districts to non-public institutions — in violation of the requirements established by Congress, the executive Procedure Act, and the U.S. Constitution”. “Instead of ignoring congressional intent and diverting funds faraway from public schools, Secretary DeVos should follow the law”. In a statement in June, Devos said the CARES act was meant to assist “all American students, teachers, and families impacted” by COVID-19.
“There is nothing within the law Congress passed that might allow districts to discriminate against children and teachers supported school attendance and employment”. The suit comes after DeVos first recommended the change in May. That attracted concern in Congress from members of both parties and public school officials. In a call with vice-chairman Pence, DeVos on Monday said governors had left $195 million unspent from the funds for schools allocated under CARES.