LANSING, Mich. (AP) - A federal judge in California has blocked a rule that Michigan, seven other states and four big-city school districts said would unlawfully allow too much pandemic relief aid to be diverted from K-12 public schools to private ones.

Judge James Donato ruled late Wednesday that the Education Department "went well beyond" its authority in trying to replace a funding formula mandated by Congress "with ones of its own choosing." The decision came days after a different federal judge issued a similar injunction in a lawsuit filed by Washington state.

Michigan has said the rule could cost its public schools $16.5 million, including $2.6 million each in Detroit, the state's largest district, and Grand Rapids, another big district. Donato wrote that if the state lost that much funding, it would be the equivalent of laying off 466 teachers in Flint.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, a Democrat who has helped lead the lawsuit along with California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, said Thursday that the "money was meant to assist the nation's public schools that are most in need of financial support," but Education Secretary Betsy DeVos' policy "does the exact opposite."

The ruling temporarily halted the U.S. government from implementing the rule in Michigan, California, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, New Mexico, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin; Washington, D.C.; and school districts in New York City, Chicago, Cleveland and San Francisco.

Under the rule, school districts were ordered to set aside a portion of their $13 billion in aid for private schools using a formula based on the total number of private school students in the district. The policy has been contested by public school officials who say the funding should be shared based on the number of low-income students at local private schools rather than their total enrollments.

That is how funding is shared with private schools under other federal rules that Congress referenced in the legislation that created the rescue aid. The rule provides an exception. Public schools can use the low-income formula if their own relief funding is used entirely on the district's low-income students.

Paul Long, president and CEO of the Michigan Catholic Conference, said the judicial decision was disappointing but not unexpected.

"Clearly the attorney general went out to California to find a favorable ruling that discriminates against nonpublic schools," he said. "Congress included nonpublic schools in the CARES Act to ensure all students are treated equally, without prejudice due to the school they attend."

(24) comments

Carlo's

Isn't it heartwarming to see a Judge who is bought and paid for by the filthy corrupt unions.

HePersisted

Yes, and all he did was respect Congress and stop DeVos from implementing her own rules like Dolores Umbridge. What gives her the right to override Congress?

cryingtoddlerlibs

Sounds like some liberals went judge shopping. ALL of the states and school districts in the article seem to have a common thread. They all are failing and are desperate to get that federal funding even though local and state taxes are supposed to pay for them. I can't wait to see school choice programs flourish so parents can choose where they want to send their kids and not leave them in buerattic failing schools. Or schools where they teach inappropriate social woke subjects that are destroying our youths brains.

Desert Dweller

So it appears if you want your children to get a real education without all the extra "sex ed" and "cancel culture" curriculum you will have to pay up.

HePersisted

Going to a private school to avoid certain ideas is the epitome of cancel culture.

Desert Dweller

I would describe it as protecting ones children from unwanted influences.

HePersisted

And isn't that what liberals are doing when they participate in what you call cancel culture? Protecting others from unwanted influences?

Desert Dweller

Where does it say that individuals have to change because you have a different belief system?

Sending ones children to a place that's beliefs they agree with causes no one else any harm.

HePersisted

Oh my God. You really believe that taking action to silence things YOU don't believe in is good, but if it's something someone ELSE believes in then it's bad. How supremely arrogant! Your point is about sending kids AWAY from someplace where people discuss ideas that you don't like. That's cancel culture.

Desert Dweller

I suppose you should raise your children as you see fit.

The rest of us will do the same.

HePersisted

Awesome. But remember that "the rest of us" that includes you is a minority in the State of Washington. If you want special treatment because you disagree with the majority in your State, don't expect the State to pay for your cancel culture. If you want to escape what's "normal" in Washington, you're the one who should have to pay extra.

Desert Dweller

We do

JillontheLake

I'm happy about the decision. Private schools are generally church-based institutions that preach the bible. Many people are not religious and public schools provide nonreligious academics.

Private schools are primarily self-funded & tax deductible & that is unfair to take public dollars.

@the real JohnQPublic

Spoken like a true liberal who gives no crap about kids. Let's make education about the kids, not the greedy ass teachers and lazy administrators. Oh, right, I forgot all about the special interest groups like the MLEA and WEA who only want more money.

local123

It's kind of telling. Whenever John q reads something intelligent he gets triggered and starts spewing nonsense like "those evil libs hate kids!" Fox News has rotted what's left of your brain.

@the real JohnQPublic

You're retarded. Where's your handler? Can't have one because of the COVID restrictions? You'll understand when you move out of your parents house and start having to pay for everything. If you're smart, you'll wonder why you have to pay for stuff you don't get a say in. If you're you, you'll ask for the government to control your life.

@the real JohnQPublic

Let's first abolish teachers unions and their big fat, publicly-paid for pensions, and then see exactly how much money they need.

local123

Someone's jealous.

JillontheLake

Great comment! He doesn't want teachers to be paid their worth. I feel sorry for his kids & wonder if they were taught in public schools. For his sake, I hope not.

@the real JohnQPublic

Teachers ain't worth shit.

local123

The irony in your comment is hilarious.

@the real JohnQPublic

What is exactly their worth? They have college degrees and work about 80 days less than full time, plus have the entire summer and every holiday off.

Their charter in article 2 section 3 clearly states they will "develop and promote a continuing program to improve salaries, fringe benefits..."

They're greedy as hell. Too bad you can't see it.

HePersisted

The irony here is that you probably support professional sports, whose athletes make many times what the highest-paid teachers do, and who "work" maybe one or two days a week, and only during their particular sport's season.

@the real JohnQPublic

No, I don't support them either. My participation is voluntary in pro sports. I volunteer to not participate.

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