Today, Rep. Greg Stanton said Gov. Doug Ducey is wrong to steal money allocated to Tempe and Chandler schools because those schools refuse to go along with Ducey’s plan to subsidize the spread of COVID-19 among Arizona students.

Ducey declared that he would rescind federal COVID relief grant money to school districts with mask mandates in place. The state has a legal obligation to make those funds available to all Arizona children, Stanton said, and by refusing to do so risks Arizona losing important federal funds.

“It’s really outrageous that Governor Ducey is so committed to denying science that he’s willing to literally steal money from kids in Tempe and Chandler,” said Stanton. “I wish I could say it’s a surprise, but it’s consistent with his continued mismanagement of the pandemic.”

Stanton continued: “The state should be giving schools every possible resource to get children back in the classroom safely, not punishing them for following the science.”

Ducey’s office allocated grant money to some school districts with mask mandates in place, including Kyrene Elementary and Tempe Union. But now Ducey says he’s demanding the money back.

In August, Stanton asked Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen to respond to Ducey’s grant program designed to deny federal COVID-19 relief funds to schools that follow CDC guidance and mandate masks. His letter is available HERE.

Last week, the Treasury Department warned Ducey that the two grant programs, which undermine evidence-based efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19 in schools, are not permissible uses of American Rescue Plan funds. The letter is available HERE.

A recent study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Arizona State University found that Arizona public schools without a mask mandate are 3.5 times more likely to experience an outbreak of COVID-19.

An October report from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children's Hospital Association found Arizona has the second-highest total child COVID deaths, third-highest total child COVID cases (sixth-highest per capita), highest total child COVID hospitalizations and the second highest child COVID hospitalization rate in the nation.