CNA Staff, Aug 29, 2020 / 14:56 pm
A federal judge has blocked a rule by the Department of Education for allocating pandemic relief money to private schools.
U.S. District Judge James Donato in San Francisco issued a preliminary injunction against the rule Thursday. He said the Education Department had exceeded its authority in issuing guidelines for funding distribution beyond what Congress had authorized.
The money, part of the CARES Act approved by Congress to help ease the economic impact of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, was set aside to be distributed to local educational agencies.
The Education Department issued an interim final rule directing local educational agencies to allot money equitably for students in private schools.
In July, several states filed a lawsuit against Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, saying funding for private schools should be based only on the number of low-income students, not total students, in accordance with Title I restrictions.
DeVos has said that CARES Act programs are not Title I programs and thus not subject to the limitation on use only for low-income students.
“The CARES Act is a special, pandemic-related appropriation to benefit all American students, teachers, and families impacted by coronavirus,” she said.
“There is no reasonable explanation for debating the use of federal funding to serve both public and private K-12 students when federal funding, including CARES Act funding, flows to both public and private higher education institutions,” DeVos said.