The California Policy Center (CPC) has joined as local counsel on litigation over CARES Act relief for private schools. CPC joins a coalition of around 40 state and national groups led by the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) advocating for private schools. CPC signed onto an amicus brief Wednesday in Michigan v. DeVos, a legal dispute in federal court between a group of state attorneys general and the federal Education Department over the availability of CARES Act funding for private schools.
“State officials from across the country are attempting to hijack federal funds meant for all schools to reward their teacher union paymasters,” said Will Swaim, president of the California Policy Center. “The California Policy Center is proud to join this lawsuit that will fulfill the original intent of the CARES legislation: to provide funding for all American schools, not just the ones deemed worthy by special interests and their political puppets.”
Background: The $2.2 trillion federal CARES Act, passed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, included an Education Stabilization Fund to support schools with the costs of safely reopening and navigating the crisis. The law directed the Department of Education to distribute these funds “equitably” between public and private schools and students but did not dictate exactly how the funds should be distributed.
On June 25, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos issued an interim final rule that gives states and local public-school districts options for how to fairly allocate CARES Act relief to private schools. Many states and local school districts refused to follow the rule. Nine attorneys general and four metropolitan school districts, including Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul, filed a multi-state federal lawsuit against the Education Department challenging the interim final rule and argued that the majority of the funding should be directed to public schools.
WILL’s Amicus: WILL’s amicus, on behalf of around 40 state and national groups, including CPC, represents the important interests of America’s private schools in this critical debate. COVID-19’s impact on education was not restricted to public schools. With more than 5 million students attending 33,000 schools, WILL and its coalition partners, including CPC, make clear that federal CARES Act relief is critical for the safety and education of the nearly 10% of American students attending private schools.
In addition to CPC, WILL’s amicus is joined by associations and advocacy groups that represent and support private schools and their families in Wisconsin, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, and throughout the nation, that serve Catholic, Orthodox Jewish, Islamic, Lutheran, other Christian, and independent secular schools, and that collectively educate millions of students: