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Gov. Doug Ducey won't stop using COVID money for anti-mask grants

In a letter to the U.S. Treasury Department, Gov. Doug Ducey's staff said they will ignore federal demands to stop favoring schools with no mask mandates.

ARIZONA, USA — Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey is defying a demand that he stop using federal coronavirus relief money to fund an education grant program that can only go to schools without mask mandates. 

He is also continuing to give private school vouchers to parents upset their children’s schools require masks or exposure quarantines. 

Ducey's staff sent a letter to the U.S. Treasury Department on Thursday that ignored the department’s demand that he stop using the money. 

Instead, Ducey aide Jason Mistlebauer said the cash was appropriately being used to help students who were harmed by school mask mandates. 

“In Arizona, disadvantaged communities bear the brunt of overbearing measures and the state wants to ensure that low-income students are not disproportionately affected by mask mandates rules and school closures,” Mistlebauer wrote.

Earlier this year, Ducey set aside $163 million in relief funding for a grant program that is not open to Arizona schools with mask mandates. School districts were given 10 days to rescind their mandates or risk missing out on the grant money.  

The Treasury Department last month told Ducey the programs were “not a permissible use” of the federal funding.

Editor's Note: The above video is from an earlier broadcast on Nov. 2.

RELATED: Arizona Supreme Court rules Legislature illegally passed ban on mask mandates

RELATED: 'Governors don't report to Joe Biden,' Gov. Ducey pushes back at new nationwide vaccine mandate

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