Florida Officials Threaten to Withhold Funding if Schools Don’t Reverse Strict Mask Mandates
Florida officials are threatening to withhold funds equal to the salaries of school board members if school districts in two counties don’t immediately do away with strict mask mandates as the state continues to battle through high hospitalization rates.
School boards in Broward and Alachua counties received a warning Friday from the State Board of Education giving them 48 hours to walk back their decisions to require masks for all students, only exempting those with a doctor’s note. Broward County has the second-largest school district in the state.
“We cannot have government officials pick and choose what laws they want to follow,” said Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran in an emailed statement. “These are the initial consequences to their intentional refusal to follow state law and state rule to purposefully and willingly violate the rights of parents.”
Corcoran said the two districts are violating the Parents’ Bill of Rights and a late July executive order by Gov. Ron DeSantis that prompted rules limiting how far districts can go with mask requirements.
The Republican governor has pushed for school districts not to mandate masks for all students, ordering the state’s health and education departments to devise rules so that parents can choose. Corcoran was recommended to the post by DeSantis and appointed by the State Board of Education in 2019.