The state of California has ruled that the Los Angeles Unified School District broke federal law when it withheld over $5 million in funds designated to help low-income students at private Catholic schools.
A 58-page report compiled by the California Department of Education called the district’s actions “egregious” and stated that it must provide “agreed-upon services” to eligible archdiocesan students by the time the semester begins in the fall, according to Angelus news service.
The school district is not hurting for funds. It received in excess of $340 million in Title I funds during the 2019-2020 school year. Out of those funds, the district only gave money to 17 Catholic schools despite the fact that over 100 were eligible for the funds according to a complaint that was filed by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.
Previously, the district has received $291 million in funds and has doled out somewhere between 2 percent and 2.6 percent to private schools. That changed in the last fiscal year when they only allowed .5 percent to be given to private schools.
“There has been a very clear and — one can only deduce by the findings — methodical approach to find ways and means of reducing legally entitled resources to our children,” Catholic schools Superintendent Paul Escala bluntly told Angelus. “[The report] affirmed and validated what we have known for a very long time — that the most poor and vulnerable students we serve within the area of the Los Angeles Unified School District have been disenfranchised.”
The Los Angeles Unified School District, which is the nation’s largest school district, wasted no time in issuing a statement proclaiming that it will appeal the ruling.
“Los Angeles Unified is in receipt of the California Department of Education’s June 25, 2021 Investigation Report in response to Archdiocese of Los Angeles’s (ADLA) complaint regarding Title I equitable services to ADLA’s private schools,” their statement contended. “Los Angeles Unified strives to comply with all applicable rules and regulations regarding the provision of Title I equitable services. While Los Angeles Unified has appealed the matter to preserve its rights, it continues to engage with ADLA and the agencies to resolve any issues.”
Under the dubious leadership of Gov. Gavin Newsom, the district has been the recipient of negative publicity for over a year. It has forced students into a modified homeschooling system. Teachers have refused to return to in-class teaching over COVID vaccinations as well. As schools were closed indefinitely in July 2020, Newsom did nothing, and eventually, it contributed to a recall of the governor.
Making matters worse, illegal immigrant students are receiving in-person instruction. Parents of students who should be in school are incensed and are suing the district and the teacher’s union over it.
The school district has lost 11,000 students since last year according to EdSource, with families moving out of state to get away from all of these issues and more.
Newsom is now saying he wants the schools to reopen and he has signed a package worth $6.6 billion to help with it. It is unknown exactly how much of that money has been given to Catholic schools.
Republican state legislator Kevin Kiley believes the school district is too large and needs to be broken up.
“The Department of Education was right to rebuke them for this egregious mismanagement and demand that the decision be reversed immediately,” he remarked to the Washington Examiner. “The failings of LAUSD are well documented. It attempts to educate five times more students than any other school district in California.”
Major policy announcement from gubernatorial candidate @KevinKileyCA at his LA campaign rally today.
"That is why today, I am calling to break-up the Los Angeles Unified School District. As governor, I will ask for a LAUSD break-up bill on my desk by the end of the year." pic.twitter.com/B333CLFq87
— Reopen California Schools (@ReopenCASchools) July 31, 2021
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