Court Rules Against CARES Money for Private Schools

Private schools that were counting on assistance from the CARES Act will need to make alternative plans, as the U.S. Department of Education is not appealing the ruling that shut down the funding.

Michigan’s Attorney General, Dana Nessel, along with other Democratic Attorneys General nationwide, went after Republican Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, accusing her of diverting $16 million away from public schools in Michigan.

DeVos said the Department of Education will “respect the rule of law and will enforce the law as the courts have opined. The Department will not appeal these rulings.”  

Quick to share DeVos’ concession of defeat, Nessel recounted the ruling from Judge James Donato of the U.S. District Court Northern District of California. The fight was over the interpretation of the wording of the CARES Act, which DeVos referred to as ambiguous, and not prohibitive of sharing with private schools. Nessel’s argument was that the wording was clear and that the money was intended for the public schools that needed it the most. Donato ruled that the wording was indeed very clear. 

The full CARES Act allocation for K-12 schools nationwide is $13.2 billion, according to FutureEd, an independent think tank at Georgetown University.

Reporting for WGRT – Jennie McClelland