SPOKANE, Wash. — Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Education in federal court Monday over Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act funding.
The attorney general also intends to file a motion for preliminary injunction in the case, asking a judge to block the Department of Education’s restrictions on the grants.
Ferguson claims Secretary of Education Betsy Devos illegally attempted to deprive public schools in Washington of emergency funding.
The CARES Act was passed by Congress on March 27 to provide $2 trillion in economic assistance to American workers and families, small businesses and preserve jobs for industries amid the coronavirus pandemic.
According to a press release from the Ferguson’s office, Washington is set to receive $216 million of the $13.5 billion included in the CARES Act for elementary and secondary schools. The money was to help public and private schools with low-income families to purchase personal protective equipment, cleaning supplies, technology for online classes, meal programs and more, the release says.
“President Trump and Betsy DeVos are unlawfully trying to funnel much-needed relief funds away from Washington’s most vulnerable public school students,” Ferguson wrote on his Facebook page. “Low-income families have been hit hard by this pandemic. My goal with our lawsuit is to ensure the funds go where Congress intended them.”
According to a press release, this is the second time Ferguson has challenged a Department of Education “attempt to impose unlawful rules” on the distribution of CARES Act relief funds. In May, he challenged the department’s decision that he claims would have deprived thousands of Washington college students from receiving aid, the press release says. A Spokane judge granted his motion for a preliminary injunction in the case, according to the press release.
Ferguson has filed 67 lawsuits against the Trump Administration. Thirty-seven of those cases are awaiting a judicial ruling and the other 30 were legal victories. According to a press release, there has been one adverse decision and Ferguson is appealing that decision.