Update on Law Suit Regarding the United States Department of Education Guidance and Interim Final Rule on Equitable Services

A federal judge in California has blocked a rule issued by Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, in response to a suit filed by Maine, seven other states and four large city school districts.  The judge’s ruling stated that the rule would unlawfully require relief funds to be diverted from k-12 public schools to private schools.

The parties to the suit are Michigan, California, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Washington D.C. and the school districts of New York City, Chicago, Cleveland and San Francisco.
The conclusion of the Judge’s brief includes:

“A preliminary injunction is granted as follows.

(1) The United States Department of Education, Secretary Betsy DeVos, and their officers, agents, employees, attorneys, and any person acting in concert with them, or at their behest, and who has knowledge of this injunction, are preliminarily enjoined from implementing or enforcing against plaintiffs the provisions in the Guidance (April 30, 2020) or the interim final rule, 85 Fed. Reg. 39479 (July 1, 2020). The injunction will remain in place pending further order of the Court.

(2) Plaintiffs are excused from posting a bond under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 65(c).

The Court sets a case management conference for September 17, 2020, at 10:00 a.m. A joint case management statement is due by September 10, 2020.”

The Judge’s brief includes many pointed remarks, and can be read in its entirety, here.

The ruling affirmed Maine Department of Education’s guidance to School Administrative Units regarding their process for determining equitable funds for private schools.