Michigan and California are leading a multistate lawsuit against U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, alleging she is wrongfully requiring millions of dollars in coronavirus relief to be sent to private schools.
DeVos’ rules are an unlawful interpretation of the federal COVID-19 relief package, which Congress passed in March, said Dana Nessel, Michigan’s attorney general.
That package provided nearly $31 billion in aid to K-12 schools to help them plug some budget holes caused by the steep drop in state revenue because of the pandemic, and to purchase needed personal protective equipment for students and staff. Nearly $400 million was earmarked for Michigan, with $350 million going directly to local school districts and $40 million to the state education department.
Part of that money would have provided services such as music classes or physical therapy to private school students from low-income families. But DeVos’ interpretation of the formula would mean Michigan schools could lose out on at least $16 million. It could also mean that in some cases, students attending wealthy private schools would receive more aid than students attending less wealthy public schools, Nessel said.
“Public schools are at risk of losing millions and millions in federal funds to their private school neighbors,” she said during a press conference on Tuesday.
She said the Grand Rapids school district would lose $2.6 million, while the Flint school district would lose $1.4 million.
“Michigan kids simply cannot afford for Betsy DeVos to play politics with their education,” she added later.
The suit was filed in a federal court on Tuesday by attorneys general in Wisconsin, Maine, California, New Mexico, and the District of Columbia.
The article was published at Michigan leads lawsuit against DeVos over coronavirus funds for private schools.