Today the United States Department of Education published an Interim Final Rule (IFR) on equitable services in the CARES Act after public school advocates objected to guidance put out by the Department aimed at treating nonpublic schools fairly under vague CARES Act language.
From the U.S. Department of Education:
The U.S. Department of Education has sent to the Federal Register for publication an Interim Final Rule (IFR) to codify its interpretation of the equitable services provisions in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), Public Law 116-136, 134 Stat. 281 (Mar. 27, 2020) (Section 18005, entitled, “Assistance to Non-Public Schools”). A local educational agency (LEA) that receives funds under the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund (GEER Fund) (section 18002) or the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER Fund) formula grants (section 18003(c)) is required to provide equitable services to students and teachers in non-public schools “in the same manner as provided under section 1117” of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended (ESEA) (section 18005(a)). The IFR outlines how LEAs receiving funds under a CARES Act program must calculate the amount available for providing equitable services to teachers and students in non-public schools—i.e., the proportional share.
The IFR has been unofficially published here on the Department’s website. Once the rule is officially published in the Federal Register, it will be effective immediately and open for public comment for 30 days. We encourage you to take time to read the entire IFR.
The IFR supersedes guidance on calculating the proportional share that the Department published on April 30, 2020…”
We are studying the rule and working with state and national colleagues to determine steps moving forward. Please be on the lookout for communications via email and our online forums.