The Associated Press (AP) reported Friday:
At issue are two state programs that are meant to help schools and students but that direct funding away from jurisdictions with mask requirements. Arizona’s Education Plus-Up Grant Program provides $163 million in funding to schools, but districts that require face coverings are ineligible. And its COVID-19 Educational Recovery Benefit Program provides for up to $7,000 for parents if their child’s school requires face coverings.
In a letter sent Friday, the Treasury Department said the state had 60 days to remove the provisions regarding masks before the federal government took action to recover the funds, and also threatened to withhold the upcoming aid.
“By discouraging families and school districts from following this guidance, the conditions referenced above undermine efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19,” the department said. “Accordingly, these school programs as currently structured are ineligible uses of (Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds).”
In a social media post Friday, Gov. Doug Ducey (R) wrote the letter was “the latest example of a President that is completely out of touch with the American people.”
“We will respond to this letter, and we will continue to focus on things that matter to Arizonans. President Biden should do the same, and he can start by addressing the crisis at the border,” he added:
During a recent broadcast of Fox News Channel’s Faulkner Focus, Ducey said Arizona was going to offer families money to send their children to a different school if theirs shut down because “we’re not going to let the union thugs play Chicago-like games in Arizona.”
Arizona has received approximately half of the $4.2 billion given to the state under last year’s coronavirus relief bill, the AP report concluded.