C.J. Karamargin, a spokesperson for Ducey, said it's “baffling” why anyone would oppose the grant programs.
“Following the challenges during the 2020 school year, everyone’s primary focus should be equipping families with the resources to get their kids caught up. That’s exactly what this program does — giving families in need the opportunity to access educational resources like tutoring, child care, transportation and more,” Karamargin said in a statement.
He said the governor's office is reviewing the letter and plans to respond.
Arizona is one of at least eight states that have laws or executive orders banning mask requirements in public schools.
The Education Department in August opened civil rights investigations into five Republican-led states that forbid mask mandates in schools, saying such actions may violate the rights of students with disabilities. The agency later added Florida to the list of states under investigation. It said it was watching several other states in case it needed to take action, including in Arizona.
The Education Department separately promised to repay school districts who have state funding withheld for defying bans on mask requirements. Last month, the agency sent nearly $150,000 to the School Board of Alachua County in Florida after the state withheld pay for school board members because the district requires masks.
Education advocates have filed a lawsuit over Arizona’s ban and several other state laws that restrict the power of local governments and school districts to impose COVID-19 requirements.
Those policies conflict with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which recommends universal mask wearing for students and teachers in the classroom. The CDC issued the guidance in light of the rapid spread of the highly contagious delta variant of COVID-19.