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

WILL, coalition represent interests of private schools in NAACP case

The News: The Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) filed an amicus brief Monday in NAACP v. DeVos, a third legal challenge in federal court over a federal Education Department interim rule about CARES Act relief for schools. WILL’s amicus brief is joined by a coalition of 43 state and national groups representing the interests of private schools and parental choice. WILL recently filed amicus briefs on behalf of a similar coalition in two related cases, Michigan v. DeVos and Washington v. DeVos.

The Quote: Director and Legal Counsel of Education Policy Libby Sobic said, “COVID-19’s impact on America’s students was not confined to public school sectors. Congress allocated critical funding to both public and private schools with the intent of helping schools reopen safely and serve their students. We are proud to represent a broad coalition of groups that recognize the importance of CARES Act relief for America’s private schools.”

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. The NAACP, joined by a few school districts and parents, filed a 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. Plaintiffs seek a nationwide injunction against the rule.

WILL’s Amicus: WILL’s amicus, on behalf of 43 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 Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, 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

American Association of Christian Schools

Association of Christian Teachers and Schools

WELS Commission on Lutheran Schools

American Federation for Children


Americans for Prosperity Foundation

Catholic Education Partners

Southeastern Legal Foundation

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 Catholic Conference

Pennsylvania Affiliate of the Council for American Private Education

Texas Private Schools Association

Washington State Catholic Conference

Washington Federation of Independent Schools

Wisconsin Council of Religious & Independent Schools

Wisconsin Catholic Conference

School Choice Wisconsin Action

Goldwater Institute

California Policy Center

Liberty Justice Center

Kirkwood Institute

Pelican Institute for Public Policy

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

Washington Policy Center

School Choice Wisconsin

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