Florida withholds funds from school districts over mask mandates

By Jenny Goldsberry

Florida’s Department of Education announced Monday that it is refusing to fund two of its counties due to their mask mandates. Within the counties there are 10 schools currently with mask mandates. They also warned of more penalties to come.

“Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran announced that the Florida Department of Education has withheld the monthly school board member salaries in Alachua and Broward County, as directed by the State Board of Education,” the statement read. “Each district has implemented a mandatory face mask policy that violates parental rights by not allowing a parent or legal guardian to opt-out their child.”

Yet Leon County Circuit Judge John Cooper ruled last Friday that the department could not level sanctions against districts. Even though Governor Ron DeSantis put into law a “Parents’ Bill of Rights” in June, Cooper ruled that mask mandates don’t apply. Instead, he ruled the department “must allow a due process proceeding of some sort to allow for a showing of reasonableness” before implementing sanctions.

At the time, DeSantis’ spokesperson said the governor planned to appeal the ruling. Then, the Commissioner Corcoran went on with his announcement. Since then, he retweeted the Florida Speaker of the House Christ Sprowls. “I stand firmly on the side of parental rights because parents, not local governments or school  boards, are in the best position to make choices for their children,” Sprowls tweeted.

“The Commissioner of Education and State Board of Education retain the right and duty to impose additional sanctions and take additional enforcement action to bring each school district into compliance with state law and rule,” the statement finished.

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You can follow Jenny Goldsberry on Twitter @jennyjournalism.

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