JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Monday, Missouri’s Attorney General Eric Schmitt sued nine more Missouri school districts for mandating masking for students. State House Minority Leader Crystal Quade, a Democrat representing Springfield, told reporters Monday she believes schools that have been sued by Schmitt’s office should be reimbursed.

“While we are on the subject of public schools, the events of last Friday require lawmakers to seriously consider adding a budget line to fully reimburse local school districts for cost incurred defending against the attorney general’s furious lawsuits,” Quade said, “Every dollar matters in education and local schools cannot afford to burn resources fighting vanity litigation primarily aimed at propping up one man’s failing US senate campaign.”

Schmitt is on a long list of Republicans who are hoping to win the seat longtime Senator Roy Blunt is leaving.

Monday’s nine lawsuits are in addition to suits against 36 school districts Schmitt filed last week. The only district in the Southwest Missouri area the AG is suing is Waynesville.

“At this point, school districts, they’re not sure what to do. I can talk about my specific school district when the Attorney General’s comments first came out,” Quade said, talking about Springfield Public Schools, “They were like, ‘no, we’re not going to listen to you’ and then they decided, ‘yes we do have to listen to you,’ and schools closed for the second week. It’s literally day-to-day crisis mode for them right now.”

Springfield Public Schools will meet this Friday to consider a temporary mask mandate. If SPS enacts another mask mandate, it would be for all students and staff from January 31 through February 18. The district is in its second week without in-person classes after reporting high numbers of staff and students had called out sick.