Education Department Gives Up on Effort to Divert COVID Relief Funds to Private Schools

On September 25, the Education Department announced that it will not appeal a U.S. district court judge’s decision that found that it illegally directed states to divert COVID-19 relief money from public schools to private schools. The CARES Act provided $13.5 billion for public and private schools, of which 90% was to be awarded based on federal Title I funding for low-income schools. However, the Education Department released guidance instructing school districts to share pandemic aid with private schools based on the total number of students they enroll, not just low-income students. This interpretation of the CARES Act would have resulted in $1.35 billion being diverted from public schools (which are obligated to serve students with disabilities) to private ones (which are not).

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