Governor Doug Ducey announced that he would grant 163-million-dollars in federal funding to schools, but only to those schools that follow state laws, most notably the state ban on mask mandates. The funds come from the American Rescue Plan, which is intended to help “all” public schools re-open safely. We asked Kathy Hoffman, the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, for her thoughts on all this.
“This is not the beginning of the school year that we were hoping for,” Hoffman said. She mentioned that with the rising COVID cases, there has been a lot of stress about keeping children safe.
And now, Governor Ducey said he would grant money to schools that follow his state laws.
The money comes from the American Rescue Plan which is federal COVID recovery and relief funding and it is “meant to be dedicated to creating stability and keeping our schools open,” Hoffman said.
The Governor turning this money into grants “to me is going completely against the intent of Congress and the Biden administration and its become very political…it’s choosing winners and losers among our school systems, it’s punishing schools that are implementing policies to keep their communities safe,” Hoffman said.
Some schools are enforcing the wearing of masks within classrooms and throughout the building in accordance with the CDC’s recommendation.
Hoffman believes it put schools in a bad spot to have them choose between government funding and choosing to implement policies that could keep their students safe.
“I think it’s truly dangerous and reckless to be creating these kinds of financial incentives for not being able to implement the mitigation strategies that are recommended by the public health experts,” Hoffman said.