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Private Schools Can Receive Public ARPA Funds, Mississippi Supreme Court Rules

Public school funds can be provided to private schools after the Mississippi Supreme Court ruled 7-2 in favor of the Mississippi Department of Finance and Administration, State Treasurer David McRae and State Treasurer Liz Welch.

The Mississippi Supreme Court rejected the Parents for Public School’s argument that Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery Funds made available under the federal American Rescue Plan Act can be allocated to private schools. The court ruled that PPS did not have standing to sue vacating an order by Hinds County judge Crystal Martin that blocked MAIS’s access to emergency COVID relief funds on behalf of its private member schools.

“Because Parents for Public Schools (PPS) has failed to demonstrate an adverse impact

sufficient to grant standing, this Court finds that PPS lacks standing to bring this lawsuit.

Accordingly, the other issues raised on appeal are moot,” Justice Robert Chamberlain wrote in the ruling.

Click here to read the Mississippi Supreme Court‘s ruling

The decision opens the door for the state legislature to provide $10 million in emergency relief funds to the Midsouth Association of Independent Schools.

The Liberty Justice Center represented the MAIS in their petition to intervene during February’s oral hearing before the state Supreme Court.

“We are thrilled with the Court’s ruling in favor of Mississippi students at MAIS’s private member schools,” Buck Dougherty, senior counsel at the Liberty Justice Center, said in a statement the Mississippi Free Press received on May 2. “The allegations made by the petitioners against independent schools relied on an unconstitutional and unconscionable Blaine Amendment, historically used to discriminate against racial and religious minorities. The Court was right to set aside the petitioners’ claim and focus on the fact that the money should be used for what the Mississippi Legislature set it aside for independent schools’ infrastructure.”

“Today’s ruling is a win for Mississippi students and schools, and for educational freedom across the country,” Dougherty added.

Associate Justice Dawn Beam wrote in a concurring but separate opinion that today’s ruling is meant only for ARPA funds.

“I write separately to reiterate that we are not ruling on state funds

Read original article by clicking here.

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