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Arizona schools to receive $100M from Ducey grant program, including some with mask mandates

When Gov. Doug Ducey first announced his  Education Plus Up Grant Program in August, he said it was meant to help districts and charter schools that did not receive much federal COVID-19 relief funding. In order to be eligible, he saidschools had to remain in person, and they could not require masks. Ducey gave schools that did have mask policies up to Aug. 27 to get into compliance. 

But a list of grant allocations released Friday by the governor's office shows some districts and charters such as the Kyrene Elementary and Tempe Union High School districts as well as ASU Preparatory Academy charter schools that did require masks by the August date are still expected to receive the funds. But the Catalina Foothills and Marana Unified school districts, which also required masks at the time and applied for the grants, were not included. 

"We're perplexed by the list of EPU grantees published today. It appears as though the governor approved grants to some districts with mask mandates, but not us," said Catalina Foothills Superintendent Mary Kamerzell. 

The Marana district's mask policy expired late September. 

The governor's office did not immediately answer why a distinction was made between these two southern Arizona districts and other schools that required masks. 

Ducey has been critical of mask policies as well as quarantine policies. Back in July, the governor tried to get the Catalina Foothills and Peoria Unified School Districts to rescind those kinds of policy, but the districts stood their ground and continued the practices.   

→  List of school districts requiring masks

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Rocio Hernandez was a senior field correspondent at KJZZ from 2020 to 2022.