The Biden administration is threatening to reclaim federal COVID-19 aid funding from Arizona unless the state stops directing the money to schools without mask mandates.
In a letter sent Friday, the Treasury Department said Arizona’s $ 163 million Education Plus-Up Grant program and its COVID-19 Educational Recovery Benefit program are undermining efforts to stop coronavirus.
The programs, funded by Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds, impose conditions that discourage school wearing masks, contrary to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines on how to reduce COVID-19- the transfer, the letter states.
The $ 350 billion state and local funding program was adopted as part of the U.S. rescue plan.
The funds are intended to “mitigate the tax effects arising from the COVID-19 public health emergency, including by supporting efforts to stop the spread of the virus,” the finance ministry noted in the letter.
According to the administration, a recipient may not use the federal funds for any program or service that contains a term or condition that undermines efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19.
The State Plus-Up Grant Program directs funds only to schools that do not have mask requirements, and the $ 10 million Educational Recovery Benefit Program provides up to $ 7,000 per year. pupil to parents who face financial and educational barriers due to having children in schools that considered to impose “unnecessary closures and school mandates.”
This program “is only available to families if the student’s current or former school requires the use of face clothing” during the school day, according to the Treasury Department letter.
According to the letter, Gov. Doug DuceyDoug DuceyTreasury threatens to recover COVID-19 funds due to Arizona school protection rules. Discrimination case haunts Democrats in Arizona gubernatorial contest Conservative group targets Tests, Sinema, Kelly MORE‘s (R) office has 60 days to redirect federal funds to qualified users or modify the two programs to comply.
If not, the federal government said it would move to recover the emergency aid money. The Ministry of Finance also threatened to withhold the next tranche of assistance.
In a statement on Twitter, Ducey blew up President BidenJoe BidenHouse Democratic campaign arms raise GOP counterpart in last quarter of 2021 Putin’s ‘Brezhnev doctrine’ involving Ukraine could backfire Rising inflation adds pain to student loan debt MORE to be “out of touch with the American people.”
“When it comes to education, President Biden wants to continue to focus on masks. In Arizona, we want to focus on math and get kids caught up after a year of learning loss,” he wrote. “We will respond to this letter and we will continue to focus on things that matter to Arizona.”