Arizona Mask-Free School Voucher Program Swamped With Demand, Funding Spent in Weeks

An Arizona education intended to provide an alternative to public schools with mask mandates has been met with a massive surge of demand, with over 2,700 parents filling out applications for the program within the two-week period they’ve been accepted.

Only $10 million in voucher funds are designated for the program, which would allow parents to send their children to schools that don’t require children to wear masks. Arizona Governor Doug Ducey announced he was earmarking the federal funds for vouchers last month, with Arizona parents increasingly critical of schools that mandate children wear masks.

Governor Ducey has signed a law banning school mask mandates in June that enters into effect at the end of this month, but the mask-free proposal is being litigated in the courts. Local education systems continue to try to enforce mask mandates, even as such a requirement stands to become illegal on September 29th.

Ducey’s voucher program provides $7,000 in cash to families of students who attend schools which require masks or impose draconian quarantine policies on unvaccinated students they don’t require for vaccinated students. The program requires an application, and the limited funds available have already been almost entirely delegated less than two weeks after the first applications were accepted.

Kaitlin Harrier, the governor’s education policy advisor, has suggested that the state government will spend another $10 million on vouchers as students and parents look for alternatives to school systems that demand students wear masks endlessly. Democrats and progressives oppose the voucher program, preferring to force students into masked school system and limit educational prospects to the public school system.

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