AG Kaul Secures Early Court Victory Against Trump Administration Attack on Pandemic Relief Funds for Public Schools
August 27, 2020
MADISON, Wis. – Attorney General Josh Kaul today announced that he and eight other attorneys general and several school districts secured a preliminary injunction yesterday against U.S. Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ unlawful attempt to siphon pandemic relief funds away from K-12 public schools. In reaching the decision, the court held that Secretary DeVos likely undermined Congressional intent by unlawfully reinterpreting the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), threatening efforts to ensure that school districts have the flexibility they need to tackle the challenges of COVID-19.
“This decision is a big win on the path to ensuring that our public schools receive all of the funding that Congress intended to provide to them for pandemic relief,” said Attorney General Kaul.
In the decision, the court noted:
- Congress’ intent in the CARES Act was “plain as day” that funds must be distributed based on the proportion of low-income students and not total population;
- The U.S. Department of Education’s interpretation of the CARES Act was “‘interpretive jiggery-pokery’ in the extreme;”
- Plaintiffs clearly demonstrated a likelihood of irreparable harm and that the U.S. Department of Education did not meaningfully dispute that assertion; and
- The balance of hardships weighs in plaintiffs favor, particularly in light of the fact that private schools have had access to additional funding under the Paycheck Protection Program.
In filing for a preliminary injunction, Attorney General Kaul was joined by the attorneys general of California, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, and the District of Columbia, as well as the City School District for the City of New York, Chicago Board of Education, Cleveland Municipal School District Board of Education, and the San Francisco Unified School District.
A copy of the court’s decision is available here.
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