National education advocacy organizations and federal agencies have shown concern and surprise at the Washington State Government’s attempt to take federal funding previously obligated to students in private schools out of the pockets of private schools for their own use.
Even though the federal government gave the Washington State government over 37 billion dollars in COVID relief, they claim they need more. However, the Emergency Assistant for Non-public Schools was given to Washington specifically to support low-income children most impacted by COVID who attend private schools. Legislators ignored the stipulations and took the money.
As far as we know, no other state has behaved this way. All the other states are honoring their commitment to funding the students as promised. Some states are even going beyond and offering flexible access to the Emergency Assistance for Non-Public Schools through a second round of grants.
Teachers and counselors have lost their jobs due to this funding grab. Some vendors gave teachers 24-hour notice that they no longer had their jobs due to the vendor’s fear that funding promised by OSPI would no longer be available.
The Washington State Office of Fiscal Management is looking into a “FIX” that would honor the federally issued timeline of September 2024 for spending EANS II and reinstate the appropriate obligated funding from the State budget back to the private schools as was intended for both EANS I and EANS II.
State Legislators concerned about the funding being stripped from the private school budgets are involved in direct communication to help sort this issue out.
WFIS and our federal advocacy partners have been asked to be patient as the OFM gets the authorization needed to fix the issue. However, being patient with almost $2M on the line for EANS II and $5M for EANS I is hard. We will continue to talk with the State and Federal Agencies and media contacts until this situation is resolved.