WILL Files Amicus in Second Legal Fight Over CARES Act Relief for Private Schools

WILL, coalition represent interests of private schools in Washington case

The News: The Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL), partnering with the Freedom Foundation in Washington, filed an amicus brief Thursday in Washington v. DeVos, a second legal challenge in federal court over a federal Education Department interim rule about CARES Act relief for private schools. Last week, WILL lead a coalition of 38 state and national groups representing the interests of private schools and parental choice in filing an amicus in Michigan v. DeVos, a multi-state legal challenge to the Education Department’s rule. WILL’s amicus in the Washington case is on behalf of a similar coalition, and is also joined by the Washington Catholic Conference, Washington Federation of Independent Schools, and the Washington Policy Center.

The Quote: WILL Deputy Counsel Luke Berg said, “As in the case brought by other states, Washington’s lawsuit seeks to replace the Department’s sensible and equitable rule with a distribution that would favor public schools to the detriment of private schools and the many students they serve. We are hopeful that the court will reject Washington’s arguments and preserve a fair allocation of these much-needed funds.”

Background: The $2.2 trillion federal CARES Act, passed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, included an Education Stabilization Fund to support schools with the costs of safely reopening and navigating the crisis. The law directed the Department of Education to distribute these funds “equitably” between public and private schools and students but did not dictate exactly how the funds should be distributed.

On June 25, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos issued an interim final rule that gives states and local public-school districts options for how to fairly allocate CARES Act relief to private schools. Many states and local school districts refused to follow the rule. Nine attorneys general and four metropolitan school districts, including Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul, filed a multi-state federal lawsuit against the Education Department challenging the interim final rule and argued that the majority of the funding should be directed to public schools. Washington v. DeVos is a similar legal challenge brought by the State of Washington.

WILL’s Amicus: WILL’s amicus, on behalf of 39 state and national groups, represents the important interests of America’s private schools in this critical debate. COVID-19’s impact on education was not restricted to public schools. With more than 5 million students attending 33,000 schools, WILL and our coalition partners make clear that federal CARES Act relief is critical for the safety and education of the nearly 10% of American students attending private schools.

WILL’s amicus is joined by associations and advocacy groups that represent and support private schools and their families in Washington, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Wisconsin, and throughout the nation, that serve Catholic, Orthodox Jewish, Islamic, Lutheran, other Christian, and independent secular schools, and that collectively educate millions of students:


Council for American Private Education

National Catholic Educational Association

Agudath Israel of America

Council of Islamic Schools in North America

Association of Christian Schools International

Association of Christian Teachers and Schools

WELS Commission on Lutheran Schools

Washington Catholic Conference

Washington Federation of Independent Schools

American Federation for Children


Catholic Education Partners

Washington Policy Center

California Catholic Conference

Colorado Catholic Conference

Colorado Association of Private Schools

Indiana Non-Public Education Association

Michigan Catholic Conference

Michigan Association of Non-Public Schools

Midsouth Association of Independent Schools

Catholic Conference of Oklahoma

Pennsylvania Affiliate of the Council for American Private Education

Texas Private Schools Association

Wisconsin Council of Religious & Independent Schools

Wisconsin Catholic Conference

School Choice Wisconsin Action

Goldwater Institute

California Policy Center

James Madison Institute

Liberty Justice Center

Mackinac Center for Public Policy

Great Lakes Education Foundation

Mississippi Center for Public Policy

Nevada Policy Research Institute

Rio Grande Foundation

Roughrider Policy Center

Buckeye Institute

Commonwealth Foundation

School Choice Wisconsin

Read More:

Share This