SAN FRANCISCO — A lawsuit co-led by Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel against U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos regarding millions of dollars in COVID-19 relief funding for public schools is over.
Judge James Donato of the U.S. District Court Northern District of California approved on Nov. 9 a permanent injunction in the case that alleged DeVos sought to "divert" over $16 million in Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding from public schools in Michigan, according to Nessel's office today.
The suit was co-led by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra.
Donato on Nov. 11 also entered a judgment in favor of all plaintiffs after his order to grant the permanent injunction.
The move comes after Donato granted a preliminary injunction on Aug. 26.
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Angela Morabito, press secretary at the U.S. Department of Education, provided FOX 17 with a statement when the suit was first filed on July 7:
“The secretary has said many times this pandemic affected all students, and the CARES Act requires that funding should be used to help all students. There is no reasonable explanation for debating the use of federal funding to serve both public and private K-12 students when federal funding, including CARES Act funding, flows to both public and private higher education institutions.”
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Nessel's office said the permanent injunction prohibits the U.S. Department of Education from the following:
- Requiring states and local education agencies (LEAs) to calculate the share of CARES Act funds for private schools in a manner inconsistent with Title I’s calculation for equitable services to private schools
- Requiring that CARES Act funds supplement, rather than supplant, other fund sources
- Restricting the distribution of CARES Act funds to only those public schools that participate in or are eligible for Title I
- Taking any adverse action against districts or schools that relied on the original guidance or interim final rule before the preliminary injunction entered.