In my previous post, I made note of the limitations on spending funds based on Betsy DeVos’s ruling. It looks like the limitations I noted are now inaccurate due to a new interim rule. From the recent email from MDE and from additional reading I have done on the topic, it looks like if all schools in the district are schoolwide Title I schools and all schools are served, then funds can be used in any manner as described in the 12 allowable usages, and equitable services are allocated based on poverty. However, supplement not supplant (SNS) will apply. The MDE email stated, “LEAs cannot divert state or local funds from its Title I schools because they receive CARES Act funds,” but we do not know what this actually means.
There are too many questions. Maybe the webinar on July 13th will address some of these. As it stands, districts around the state will not be uniform in the implementation of equitable services since districts vary in how Title I services are provided to students in the district. This means some private schools will benefit when others do not. I see this resulting in a law suit from the private schools. As it stands today, Michigan and California have both filed lawsuit against the Department of Ed and the ruling. They are asking for an injunction against implementation of the ruling until the suit is determined. If the injunction takes place, it may mean another change in equitable services allocation.
As I mentioned, there are many questions – What happens if a district allocates to a private school based on enrollment and the lawsuit prevails and shows this not to be allowable. Funds can only be allocated based on poverty. Does the private school have to refund the money that was spent? Or what happens if the district allocates based on poverty and the lawsuit does not prevail and funds have to be allocated to the private school, but the district has expended all of the ESSER funds? I’m sure all kinds of scenarios can be imagined. The grant deadlines has been extended to August. Expenses continue to be incurred by districts. Lots of questions and few answers at this point.