State Watch

Treasury says Arizona can’t use federal COVID-19 aid for anti-mask education grants

Getty Images

The U.S. Treasury Department on Tuesday ordered Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) to stop allotting federal pandemic funding toward grants for school systems in the state that do not have mask mandates, saying the grants are “not a permissible use” of the funds.

In a letter to Ducey, Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo pushed back on the grants, noting that their requirements “undermine evidence-based efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19.” He also stated that the governor will have just 30 days to provide an explanation on how to “remediate” the problem, according to The Associated Press.

Ducey created the grant programs in August in an effort to place more pressure on school districts that went against his state’s ban on mask mandates. Through the program, $163 million funding was made available to schools that did not have mask mandates and an additional $10 million program provides vouchers to families of children in public schools that are required to quarantine due to contact with someone who has COVID-19, the AP noted.

At his announcement of the program, Ducey reportedly called for schools to place the decision on whether children should wear masks with their parents.

“Parents are in the driver’s seat, and it’s their right to make decisions that best fit the needs of their children. Safety recommendations are welcomed and encouraged — mandates that place more stress on students and families aren’t,” Ducey said at the time. “These grants acknowledge efforts by schools and educators that are following state laws and keeping their classroom doors open for Arizona’s students.”

Ducey’s spokesperson, C.J. Karamargin, told the AP on Tuesday that it is “baffling” that anyone would be opposed to Arizona’s grant program.

“Following the challenges during the 2020 school year, everyone’s primary focus should be equipping families with the resources to get their kids caught up. That’s exactly what this program does — giving families in need the opportunity to access educational resources like tutoring, child care, transportation and more,” Karamargin said in a statement.

According to Karamargin, Ducey has reviewed the letter and plans to respond.


Tags Arizona Doug Ducey Doug Ducey mask mandate Treasury Department Wally Adeyemo

Copyright 2023 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

See all Hill.TV See all Video

Most Popular

Load more


See all Video