Education Finance

US Dept. of Education Spotted Fund Breach by LAUSD

US Dept. of Education Spotted Fund Breach by LAUSD

Los Angeles: The Los Angeles Unified School District was found to have breached federal law by reducing funding for low-income Catholic school students. This finding was upheld by the U.S. Department of Education, which announced on Thursday.

ADLA senior director and superintendent, Paul Escala said in a statement, “We are pleased that the U.S. Department of Education affirmed the findings of the California Department of Education.”

The state Department of Education’s 2021 ruling, which stated that the LAUSD had neglected to “meaningfully consult” with the archdiocese on the discrepancies and “accurately count the number of children from low-income families” attending schools in the Los Angeles Archdiocese, was upheld by the ruling.

According to the ADLA, the decision from Nov. 16 would reinstate millions of federal funds that are allocated to low-income students enrolled in Title I-eligible Catholic schools in the Los Angeles area.

The LAUSD received an average of $291 million in Title I funds annually in the three years before 2019, with 2% to 2.6% going to private schools, according to a report from the state Department of Education.

In the 2019–20 academic year, however, the district distributed less than 5% of its Title I funding to private schools despite receiving more than $349 million in funding overall, an increase over previous years when it reduced the number of Catholic recipients from 102 to 17.

With more than 68,000 students enrolled in 250 elementary and high schools, the Archdiocese’s Department of Catholic Schools is the biggest nonpublic school system in the country.

The USDE’s ruling mandates that the LAUSD take corrective measures, which include collaborating with the Archdiocese to reevaluate and assess Title I-eligible schools and students, determine the services that need to be offered, and put the amenities in place within ninety days, or until a later date that has been mutually agreed upon.

Following those recalculations, the amount owed for previous years can be ascertained.

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