The state auditor in Arizona made a weird decision. She decided that the charter schools that applied for and received $100 million in federal funds from the Paycheck Protection Program didn’t really take federal funds at all.

What?

Craig Harris of the Arizona Republic writes:

Arizona charter schools that received up to $100 million in federal Paycheck Protection Program forgivable loans can keep the money and not have any of their state funding cut, the Arizona Auditor General’s Office has determined.

At issue is a rarely enforced state charter school law that prohibits taxpayers from paying “twice to educate the same pupils.”

The law requires a school that has been twice compensated to have their base-level funding reduced by an equal amount if additional federal or state monies received by the school were “intended for the basic maintenance and operations of the school.”

But Auditor General Lindsey Perry concluded the state law “does not apply to loan proceeds charter schools” obtained through the federal PPP program.

Her office ruled the loans — despite being 100% forgivable with minimal justification to show that the money was needed — were not “monies received from a federal or state agency” as described in state law.