Gov. Ducey blocks money to Arizona schools mandating masks

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Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey is blocking funds from going to schools with mask mandates unless they reverse course and follow the state’s ban on such requirements.

“Safety recommendations are welcomed and encouraged — mandates that place more stress on students and families aren’t,” Ducey said in a statement Tuesday. “These grants acknowledge efforts by schools and educators that are following state laws and keeping their classroom doors open for Arizona’s students.”

Ducey created a $163 million school grant program from federal coronavirus relief funds, but schools enforcing masks or closing down because of the virus will not be eligible to receive $1,800 per student.

School districts with such mandates will have 10 days to repeal them or not qualify for the funds, according to the governor’s spokesman, C.J. Karamargin. The law banning face masks, however, does not go into effect until late September.

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“They need to be in compliance for these discretionary grant funds by Aug. 27,’’ Karamargin said. “If they want to be eligible for the grants, they should do so by Aug. 27.’’

The Arizona governor also announced a $10 million program Tuesday that awards parents $7,000 for each public school student who faced virus quarantining, preferential treatment for vaccinated students or mandated mask wearing.


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