Arizona Governor Goes After Local School Autonomy - Threatens To Withhold Funding For Mask Mandates
Gov. Doug Ducey has barred Arizona schools from enforcing local mask mandates, stating, "Arizona does not allow mask mandates, vaccine mandates, vaccine passports, or discrimination in schools based on who is or isn’t vaccinated.”
Arizona School Boards Association responded to the measure, “ASBA stands for local control; we do not want to mandate masks for all Arizona school districts; we simply want those districts and their locally elected school board to be able to decide what’s best for their students and staff.”
Ducey has since announced that the state would withhold federal relief funds from school districts that do have mask mandates. A $163 million school grant program is only available to schools that adhere to "all state laws" which prohibit any mask or vaccine mandate. Schools that have mask mandates or have closed due to COVID-19 outbreaks are not eligible for the program and risk losing the additional $1,800 per student.
This policy takes away schools’ local autonomy to decide whether or not students will wear masks in their classrooms. It is a clear instance of government overreach, taking away the power to decide from parents and school boards and centralizing it at the state level at the cost of American children’s wellbeing.
Rep. Greg Stanton responded to Ducey’s actions saying in a letter to U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, “These funds are not intended to be used for policies that undercut scientific research to pursue purely partisan ideological priorities."