(AP) — The U.S. Department of Education is attempting to take pandemic relief funds away from K-12 public schools and divert the money to private schools, California and four other Democratic-led states argued in a lawsuit filed Tuesday against the Trump administration.
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced the lawsuit, which was joined by Maine, New Mexico, Wisconsin and the District of Columbia. The suit also names Education Secretary Betsy DeVos as a defendant.
Becerra said the department unlawfully interpreted the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, which established guidelines to distribute $13.2 billion in aid to schools nationwide using Title I funds earmarked for students from low-income families.
The department’s interpretation will instead allow school districts to get funds based on their total student population, leading tens of millions of dollars to be diverted from public schools in the poorest districts to private institutions with tuition similar to that charged by private colleges, the lawsuit says.