The Florida Division of Schooling has withheld funds from two faculty districts that made masks necessary in lecture rooms this fall, state officers introduced on Monday, making good on a menace that native faculty boards that required college students to put on masks can be punished financially.
The announcement is the most recent twist in a political combat over masking in Florida, the place Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, issued a ban on masks at school in July, solely to be swatted back by a judge last week.
Richard Corcoran, the state schooling commissioner, stated in a press release that the division would combat to guard mother and father’ rights to make well being care choices for his or her youngsters, including: “They know what’s greatest for his or her youngsters.”
The penalty applies to 2 faculty districts — Alachua County and Broward County — that went forward with masks mandates in defiance of the governor’s order.
The division had indicated that it could withhold a month-to-month quantity equal to high school board members’ salaries. In Alachua County, members make about $40,000 a yr, and in Broward County about $46,000, in keeping with the State Legislature’s Office of Economic and Demographic Research.
Nevertheless, as a result of the state doesn’t pay the salaries of native officers, it can’t withhold the salaries immediately. Mr. Corcoran had previously said that he would possibly suggest withholding funds “in an quantity equal to the salaries of the superintendent and all of the members of the varsity board.”
On Monday, his division stated that the counties had been instructed to chop faculty board compensation — and nothing else.
However the sensible impact of that continues to be unclear. The Biden administration has suggested that any faculty district that’s stripped of state funding due to a backlash to pandemic precautions might use federal stimulus funds to make up the difference.
In a press release, Broward County Public Faculties stated it could proceed to implement its masks mandate in the meanwhile.
Alachua County faculty officers anticipated the district would lose about $13,400 a month, the equal of the salaries of 4 faculty board members who voted for a masks mandate.
“I’m very troubled by the state’s motion,” Carlee Simon, the superintendent of Alachua County Public Faculties, stated in a press release. “Our faculty board members made a brave determination to guard the well being and lives of scholars, employees and the individuals of this neighborhood, and a court docket has already dominated that they had the authorized proper to take action. They deserve reward, not penalties.”
The Florida Division of Schooling didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.
Florida is experiencing the worst outbreak of the coronavirus in the nation. Over the past seven days, a median of greater than 16,000 individuals have been hospitalized every day, greater than throughout another interval within the pandemic.
Final week, a decide ruled against Governor DeSantis on the query of college masks mandates, ruling that Florida’s faculty districts might impose mandates on college students to curb the unfold of the coronavirus. The decide additionally issued an injunction blocking the state’s Division of Schooling from punishing native faculty boards.
The Division of Schooling deliberate to attraction, and on Monday introduced that funding had been withheld.
The penalties would proceed month-to-month till the varsity boards comply, the division stated.