Parents Threaten To Pull Students And Funding Over Mask Mandate, Could Cost District Over $400,000

[Flickr/Dan Gaken]

Laurel Duggan Social Issues and Culture Reporter
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A group of Iowa parents, threatening to pull their children from public schools to protest a mask mandate, could cost the district $7,000 per student, the Des Moines Register (DMR) reported Monday.

Sixty-six parents would pull their kids the day before the Ankeny school district’s Oct. 1 student count date, and some would reenroll the Monday after the count, which would result in more than $465,000 in lost funding, according to DMR. The district receives funding based on the number of students enrolled on Oct. 1. (RELATED: Iowa Teacher Goes On Wild Rant About Not Being Able To Teach CRT)

“Only five-hundredths of one percent of Iowa COVID-related deaths are in the zero to 17 age group, or just three individuals for the entire pandemic. This despite masks being optional at the end of last school year and the first month of this school year,” Jeff Fahrmann, the protest’s organizer, told the Ankeny Board of Education on Sept. 21.

“The department of public health has recommended that schools treat COVID-19 like other child illnesses,” he told the board.

Republican Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds banned mask mandates in schools May 20, stating, “I am proud that we recently put new laws in place that will protect Iowans against unnecessary government mandates in our schools and local governments.” (RELATED: YouTube Expands Crackdown On Vaccine Misinformation, Targets Specific Accounts)

A district court extended a restraining order against the mask mandate ban Monday, according to The Associated Press, so the mandate ban cannot be enforced until at least Oct. 11.

Mary Buckton of the Urban Education Network said the district could appeal to the school budget review committee for increased funding if the parents follow through with pulling their students from schools this week, DMR reported. The committee-approved funds would come from local property taxes, Buckton said.