A new rule within the CARES Act could impact your child’s school district

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — There’s a growing fight in Indiana over how much federal coronavirus relief funding schools should get. The Trump administration is pushing for more of that money to go to private schools.

The CARES Act has provided millions of dollars to help Indiana schools during the coronavirus pandemic.

“I have to take my hat off to the Indiana teachers who have done such a fabulous job,” Sally Sloan, executive director of the American Federation of Teachers of Indiana, said Friday.

Earlier this year, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos issued guidance suggesting some of the CARES Act money be directed to private schools. On Thursday, that suggestion took a new step: It became a rule.

“It has been worked out that it will be more equitable. So, in a situation where there is a private school working in conjunction with a public school, then they will work together to determine how much money goes where,” Sloan explained.

The Federal Department of Education said under the rule, schools would have spending options.

If a district wants to calculate how much it would cost to provide equitable services, like busing, counseling or tutoring to only low-income students, the district would have to spend the money on their low-income students as well.

If the districts want to spend the money on all public school students in the district, they’d have to figure out how much money would be needed for those same “equitable services” based on total private school enrollment in the district.

“I think we have to recognize it’s the reality of the moment,” Sloan explained.

A spokesperson for Indiana’s Department of Education told News 8 their team is currently reviewing the rule.

The rule will take effect once it is published in the Federal Register, and it will be open for a 30-day public comment period.

Back in May 2020, Dr. Jennifer McCormick, state superintendent of public instruction, issued her own final language memo to superintends in the state after DeVos’ guidance relating to Equitable Shares of CARES Act funds.