MASB Supports CARES Act Funding Lawsuit

Don Wotruba

By Don Wotruba, CAE, MASB Executive Director

DashBoard, July 8, 2020

Yesterday, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Attorney General Dana Nessel, J.D. and State Superintendent Michael Rice, Ph.D. announced the filing of a lawsuit against Secretary Betsy DeVos and the U.S. Department of Education for inconsistent guidance around the distribution of CARES Act funds to public and private schools. This has been done in partnership with the states of California, Maine, New Mexico and Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia. 
MASB staff has been seeking a change to this since early June when a letter was sent to our congressional delegates requesting their assistance. 
The USDOE guidance says districts must set aside a portion of the relief money for private school students by calculating what share of all students in their area attend private school, not just what share of low-income students do as is plainly stated in the CARES Act language. Whether it was intentional or not, MASB believes the USDOE overstepped in their application of the law. 
It is likely that other states will sign onto this lawsuit or file their own. Other organizations have shared their concerns with Secretary Betsy DeVos and have not received an encouraging response. She continued to defend the guidance, but also stated it would be going out for a public review. A public review period would greatly delay the allocation of these funds and we recognize that your districts need this funding as soon as possible to address the costs associated with COVID-19. 
MASB will continue to advocate on your behalf that CARES Act funding be distributed through the formulas outlined in the law. If you have any questions, concerns or comments, please feel free to reach out to me or our Director of Government Relations Jennifer Smith (

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