A huge victory for public school advocates today.
Betsy DeVos’s attempt to steer CARES money to private schools was struck down in court today.
A 13-page filing issues this evening explained the ruling.
North Carolina parents helped in this.
From the Southern Poverty Law Center:
The plaintiffs are the NAACP, public school parents and districts across the country. The plaintiff families have children enrolled in public schools in states including Maryland, North Carolina, Georgia, Arizona, Florida, Tennessee, Nevada, Mississippi and Alabama, as well as Washington, D.C. The plaintiffs also include Broward County Public Schools, FL; DeKalb County School District, GA; Denver County School District, CO; Pasadena Unified School District, CA; and Stamford Public Schools, CT.
The judge sided with the NAACP, which had brought the legal challenge against DeVos’ policy, criticizing it as a ploy to divert emergency aid away from needy public schools toward more affluent private-school students.
Several other judges had already preliminarily blocked DeVos’ rule in certain states, but Judge Friedrich’s ruling — which is final — goes further in striking down the entire rule as illegal. The ruling will apply nationwide.
Friedrich ruled that DeVos lacked the authority to add her own conditions on the $13 billion that Congress set aside for K-12 schools in the CARES Act. The restrictions applied to another $3 billion pot of money in the law controlled by governors, to the extent they chose to spend it on K-12 schools.
At issue in the cases is how public school districts must share those billions of dollars in coronavirus relief funding with private schools to provide “equitable services” — such as technology, tutoring or transportation.
Public school officials and groups like the NAACP argued the emergency funding should be sent to private schools under the typical federal formula, which is based on the number of low-income students at private schools. But DeVos’ rule said that school districts must allocate money for private school students based on total enrollment, irrespective of the students’ income.