A Loudoun County, Virginia, high school dished out $24,000 to a racial equity firm that had already collected nearly half a million dollars from the county for providing race programs, documents show.
According to a contract provided to Fox News, the Sterling, Va.-based Park View High School paid cash to The Equity Collaborative, a North Carolina-based consulting firm, for six virtual equity training sessions for educators between Feb. 1 and April 12.
Wayde Byard, the public information officer for Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS), did not say what services the group provided but said Title I Funds covered the contract. Such funds must go towards helping low-income students meet state academic standards.
The contract appears to be the first between a Virginia school and the Equity Collaborative. However, it comes on the heels of the county pushing $500,000 in funds to the group for programs designed to counter systematic bias and oppression.
Loudoun County has further laid out plans to allocate more than $6 million for "equity" and "equity training" in its 2022 fiscal year budget, although it is unclear what the cash will cover. Byard told Fox News that "the majority - $5.49 million or 90% - is to provide equitable access to instruction and resources for our 85,867 projected students."
The latest revelation helps shed light on the inner workings of a county that has captured national attention as a prominent battlefield over critical race theory (CRT).
Although LCPS has denied teaching CRT, an invoice shows the Equity Collaborative explicitly charging the school system for training related to "critical race theory."
Defenders generally argue that CRT-type training helps enhance dominant groups' understanding and empathy of what the oppressed experience on a regular basis. These types of trainings have also been promoted as ways to "dismantle" or weaken alleged structures imposing burdens through bias and discrimination.
"In explaining LCPS' equity priorities, it might be helpful to state what they are not. They are not an effort to indoctrinate students and staff into a particular philosophy or theory. What they are is an effort to provide a welcoming, inclusive, affirming environment for all students," said then-Interim Superintendent Scott A. Ziegler.
"LCPS' work on equity is a journey that requires the commitment of staff at all levels. I feel the staff's work, which has been sustained, honest and undertaken in good faith, has been misrepresented recently by some members of the public," he added.