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Nessel sues U.S. Dept. of Education over CARES funding for schools

Dana Nessel
Jodi Westrick
Michigan Radio

Michigan has joined four other states and Washington, D.C. to challenge how the U.S. Department of Education is allocating money for schools.

The funds come from the CARES Act to assist schools with their COVID-19 responses.

But Governor Gretchen Whitmer says the department and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos have put their own spin on the law.

“Under their new rule, private schools in affluent districts may receive services that Congress intended for disadvantaged students. This isn’t how it should work. This is a virus that has had a disproportionate impact on low income communities and communities of color,” says Whitmer.

Nessel says the U.S. Department of Education is shortchanging public schools in Michigan.

“And that’s why we cannot and will not sit on the sidelines while critical funding specifically allocated based on low-income status is allowed to be re-allocated by counting students who have privileges and resources already available to them,” says Nessel.

The Great Lakes Education Project supports the rule.

A statement from the GLEP says Whitmer’s COVID-19 shutdown orders affected private schools and their students the same as public schools.

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Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.