HARRISBURG―Attorney General Josh Shapiro today wrote a letter to school district superintendents across the Commonwealth addressing the recent threats made by Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to withhold federal funding from schools that do not open for full-time, in-person instruction due to COVID-19. AG Shapiro assured educators that the Office of Attorney General would act if DeVos illegally withholds funding appropriated by Congress.
“As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, educators across our Commonwealth are
being forced to make incredibly difficult choices,” wrote Attorney General Shapiro. “Your decisions must balance children’s educational and emotional needs, parents’ ability to return to work, the health and safety of your teachers and staff, and overall public health.
The CDC, Pennsylvania’s Department of Health, and Pennsylvania’s Department of Education have all outlined steps schools can take to mitigate the risk of the virus. While we have learned much about COVID-19, there is still much we do not know about how physical reopening will affect students and their families along with faculty and staff – despite Secretary DeVos’ statements to the contrary.”
DeVos recently announced that she would support the Trump Administration’s plan to force students and faculty back to school in the Fall. The majority of federal education funding is allocated to support low-income communities and students with learning challenges.
“Secretary DeVos has indicated that she may attempt to unilaterally stop Congressionally-appropriated funds from flowing to certain districts and schools in violation of the law. If that happens, in a way that impacts the Commonwealth, I’ll take all appropriate actions,” Attorney General Shapiro concluded.
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