Analysis: Serious flaws in federal instructions to school districts on serving private school students with COVID-19 relief funds

 The U.S. Department of Education has issued guidance on how local educational agencies (LEAs, typically school districts) are supposed to use CARES Act COVID-19 relief funds to provide equitable services to students and teachers in private schools.  The guidance instructs LEAs to allocate funds for this purpose based on the proportion of all students residing in the district that are in private schools, even though the CARES Act itself clearly provides that the amount of funds should be based only on the proportion of low-income students in the district that are in private schools.  Following the instructions in the guidance will result in a large diversion of funds away from serving public school students and staff, beyond what is called for in the Act.

 

Click here to read CLE’s analysis that walks through, in detail, the legal, logical, and policy flaws in the guidance.  We hope that it is helpful to people – at the state or local level in dealing with what school districts should now do with the funds, as well as in informing possible changes at the federal level by the U.S. Department of Education or in Congress.  (The Department of Education first issued its interpretation as guidance but has now said that it will draft a proposed regulation for public notice and comment.)

 

[For discussion of other aspects of implementing the CARES Act, beyond private school issues, click here for CLE's Analysis of Elementary and Secondary Funding in the CARES Act.]