Politics & Policy

Florida to Withhold Funds from Two School Districts for Violating Mask-Mandate Ban

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis speaks during a press conference before the 2019 MLS All-Star Game at Exploria Stadium in Orlando, Fla., July 31, 2019. (Jasen Vinlove/USA TODAY Sports)

Florida will temporarily revoke financial resources from two school districts for defying Republican Governor Ron DeSantis’ executive order prohibiting mask mandates in public institutions.

Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran said the state will withhold state funds from Broward and Alachua public schools, suspending compensation for a number of school officials, the Miami Herald reported Friday.

The announcement comes after Florida education officials determined Tuesday that Broward and Alachua county school districts violated state law by continuing to impose mask requirements on students and faculty.

The Florida Board of Education unanimously voted that the school officials’ actions should be probed and potentially penalized, as Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran noted they failed to comply with state law.

Florida’s move comes after President Biden announced he would direct the Department of Education to exercise full oversight authority and potentially pursue civil rights legal action against governors that block school districts reimposing mask mandates in defiance of their executive orders.

In recent weeks, Florida and Texas have confronted a wave of legal challenges to their mask mandate bans. The Texas Supreme Court ruled Thursday to maintain school mask mandates in the state after Republican Governor Greg Abbott appealed the high court a lower court’s decision that upheld the mandates.

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