CPS could lose $10M to pri­vate schools, dis­trict says in law­suit against DeVos

Chicago Sun-Times - - TOP NEWS - BY NADER ISSA, ED­U­CA­TION RE­PORTER nissa@sun­times.com | @NaderDIssa

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.”

Betsy DeVos

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