A California archdiocese is suing its local school district for withholding funding from Catholic schools.
The Los Angeles Archdiocese is suing the Los Angeles Unified School District, seeking a court order that would force the school district to “engage in timely and meaningful consultations with (the archdiocese) regarding the process by which the (archdiocese) schools’ Title I allocation was calculated,” with the archdiocese alleging the district withheld funding from local Catholic schools, particularly those in poor communities.
LAUSD "has openly and consistently acted to prevent federally funded services from reaching eligible, lower-income (archdiocesan) students," the archdiocese alleges in the lawsuit, filed Thursday in the California Superior Court.
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LAUSD had increased its own federal funding by withholding from the archdiocese's Catholic schools, the archdiocese claims.
The two local organizations have been on tense terms since 2018, when LAUSD and the archdiocese discussed which Catholic schools qualify for federal funding, according to the Daily Breeze. The funding comes through Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and provides financial assistance to local education providers based on what portion of their attendees are lower-income. The archdiocese argues the district has changed the process required for said funding, often more than once in a year, then excluded schools that did not fulfill the needed paperwork.
The archdiocese filed a complaint with the California Department of Education in September 2019 alleging the school district had blocked all but 17 Catholic schools in the region from receiving funding.
A report released by the CDE in July ruled that LAUSD had 60 days to establish "timely and meaningful consultations" with the archdiocese.
LAUSD said it "strives to comply with all applicable rules and regulations regarding the provision of Title I equitable services," according to RNS.
The archdiocese told the Washington Examiner that it "is committed to advocating for our students to ensure that the Title I services that they need and are legally entitled to are returned to them by LAUSD and a fair and equitable process for Title I services moving forward."
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"LAUSD has no comment on pending or ongoing litigation," a spokesperson for the school district told the Washington Examiner.