CPS could lose $10M to private schools, district says in lawsuit against DeVos
Chicago Public Schools has joined a federal lawsuit with 12 other states, cities and districts against U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos over her insistence that public school districts share more of their federal coronavirus relief funding with private schools.
The complaint centers around more than $13 billion earmarked for schools in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, known as the CARES Act, which Congress passed in late March.
The legislation calls for states and school districts to receive money based on how much Title I funding they’re allotted to serve low-income students, the lawsuit says. But DeVos, the complaint argues, has instructed funding to be distributed based on a school’s total number of students, which would divert money from public schools serving children from low-income families to wealthier private schools.
CPS’ CARES Act allotment is $205 million of the $569.5 million earmarked for Illinois. Officials estimate CPS would lose about $10 million if DeVos’ distribution guidelines stand. The district said in a statement Monday that shifting millions to private schools would be a misallocation of taxpayer dollars at a time when public school students need it most.
“The devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately impacted low-income students of color and the Trump Administration is turning its back on these students in favor of wealthy private institutions by siphoning public funds away from the students who Congress intended to support,” the district said.
Department of Education Press Secretary Angela Morabito said in a statement that “this pandemic affected all students, and the CARES Act requires that funding should be used to help all students.”