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Ducey offering $163 million in funding to schools following state laws, allowing in-person classes

Arizona schools that follow state laws and that stay open for in-person instruction will be eligible to receive additional funding.

PHOENIX — Arizona Governor Doug Ducey will be offering up to $163 million in grant funding to all schools that follow state laws and stays open for in-person instruction, the administration announced Tuesday. 

The multi-million dollar funding, made available through the federal American Rescue Plan, will be distributed through the Education Plus Up Grant program to district and charter schools following all state laws, such as the law that banned public schools from imposing mask or vaccine mandates on students and staff. 

The law will go into effect on Sept. 29 after Ducey signed the state's budget back in June.

Eligible schools will also need to remain open for in-person instruction as of Aug. 27 and throughout the remainder of the school year to receive the funding.

"Safety recommendations are welcomed and encouraged — mandates that place more stress on students and families aren’t," Ducey said in a news release. "These grants acknowledge efforts by schools and educators that are following state laws and keeping their classroom doors open for Arizona’s students."

Every K-12 public and charter school will have the opportunity to receive up to $1,800 per student in funding if contingent with state law. 

The increase in educational funding from the state comes just a day after a Maricopa County judge ruled in favor of Phoenix Union High School District keeping their mask mandate in place until at least Sept. 29.

The ruling came during a lawsuit between the district and Metro Tech biology teacher Douglas Hester with a motion for a temporary restraining order. The lawsuit was in regard to the district imposing a mask mandate after a ban on mandates was signed into state law.

Several school groups, including two board members from PXU, are also suing the state. Their claim in the lawsuit is that prohibiting mask mandates undermines the rights of school children and that the state passed it illegally.

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