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‘Equitable Services’ Funding – A Potential Lifeline for Private Schools


• Tim Abram


Schools are closed nationwide, but some are closed for good. The economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic recently forced the storied Institute of Notre Dame, Maryland’s oldest Catholic girls school, to shutter its doors. Today the Archdiocese of Newark announced that it would close 10 of its schools due to financial hardship.

Many of these Catholic schools serve large numbers of low-income students. One of them, a member of the Cristo Rey Network, exclusively serves students of limited economic means. Countless other non-public schools across the nation are facing the same threat. And when they close, school districts will have to absorb displaced students at great expense.

Private school closures demonstrate why it is pivotal to enable students and teachers in non-public schools to receive “equitable services” under the CARES Act—through the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Fund and the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund.

Last week, the U.S. Department of Education released guidance on how school districts can provide equitable services to students and teachers in non-public schools. If non-public school leaders intend to use the funds authorized by the CARES Act, a clear understanding of what equitable services are and how to ask for them cannot be overstated.

ExcelinEd’s newest policy brief, The CARES Act: Equitable Services Funding Guidance for Private Schools, explores what qualifies as “equitable services” under the CARES Act. The brief also outlines the details of the updated guidance, explains how non-public school officials can consult with school districts to receive equitable services, and provides specific recommendations for non-public school leaders.


About the author


Tim Abram

Tim@ExcelinEd.org

Tim Abram serves as ExcelinEd’s Associate Policy Director of Educational Opportunity. Prior to joining ExcelinEd, Tim worked as a public policy manager for VIPKid, a leading ed-tech company. Additionally, Tim has been an education policy fellow for Senator Chris Murphy and a public policy fellow for the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. Tim also taught United States history in the Mississippi Delta as a Teach For America corps member. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Public Policy Leadership from the University of Mississippi and a Masters of Education specializing in Education Policy and Management from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.