Board of Education plans another emergency meeting on school mask issue
Image via AP.

school masks
Funding cuts are on the table for two school districts defying the state.

School mask wars continue to rage in Florida as the state clashes with local leaders about what’s best for children during a pandemic.

The Florida Department of Education noticed its second emergency Board of Education meeting about mask policies in schools Aug. 17 at 4 p.m.

Board members will consider two school districts defying Gov. Ron DeSantis’ executive order prohibiting schools from requiring masks and threatening to defund school districts that defy his order. The state Board of Education passed an emergency rule to support this executive order.

The Board has given two school districts who have implemented mask requirements, Alachua and Broward, until Friday to respond to its inquiries about compliance with the orders.

“Failure to faithfully follow the Parent’s Bill of Rights and the Department of Health’s emergency rule endangers the safety and educational opportunities of students in these districts and has the potential to cause learning loss for these students.”

At-risk for the school districts are cuts to funding, but the penalties didn’t play out quite as DeSantis’ original threat intended. DeSantis’ executive order threatened to cut school district budgets where mask mandates were issued, but later he walked that back, saying he would only cut salaries for school board members and superintendents who implemented the requirements.

But the Governor’s office acknowledged Thursday the state can only cut a school district’s budget in an amount equaling the school board member and superintendent salaries. Ultimately it would be up to the school district to decide where to cut that funding.

Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran will decide whether to enforce the penalties.

Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried has vowed to work with the White House to find a way for the federal government to pick up the tab for any funding losses schools incur as a result of mask policies that follow U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines that advise indoor masking for all teachers and students regardless of vaccination status.

Other school districts have sidestepped DeSantis’ policy but not quite as boldly as Alachua and Broward counties. Many school districts are requiring masks, but are allowing opt-outs if parents fill out paperwork.

The ire over DeSantis’ policy has led to a lawsuit from parents of students with disabilities. That lawsuit claims preventing schools from enforcing mask requirements could be deadly for students with disabilities who are at a high risk for illness, especially in children under 12 who are not yet eligible for the vaccine.

The first day of school in Alachua County was Tuesday, Aug. 10.

The first day of school in Broward County is set for Aug. 18.

Haley Brown

Haley Brown covers state government for FloridaPolitics.com. Previously, Haley covered the West Virginia Legislature and anchored weekend newscasts for WVVA in Bluefield, W.Va. Haley is a Florida native and a graduate of the University of Florida. You can reach her at [email protected]


7 comments

  • Matthew Lusk

    August 13, 2021 at 11:34 am

    See how weasel–E the Federal Government has become. Absolutely massive encroaching on State’s rights. And the scariest part is, they don’t t even need our money. They deficit spend into the trillions. Fried will not stand up for Floridian’ rights she will invite in the feds.

    • Frankie M.

      August 15, 2021 at 2:03 pm

      States encroaching on local school districts and so it goes

  • Sonja Fitch

    August 13, 2021 at 1:30 pm

    Omg. You Board of Education are charged with protecting our children. Money. Yep that is the good old perverts. Money over lives and common sense!

  • Anna

    August 13, 2021 at 6:14 pm

    My neighbor’s aunt makes 62 every hour on the internet..ii she has been without work for eight months but the previous month her revenue was 19022 only working on the laptop 5 hours a day..

    check this…… http://PayBuzz1.com

  • Tom

    August 14, 2021 at 10:52 pm

    See how weasly the state government has become? Absolute massive encroachment on municipal rights. Why should the state government, hundreds of miles away from Broward get to decide what they can and can’t do?!? Why can’t the good citizens of Broward decide for themselves? The people should decide what’s best for themselves, not what the federal or state government wants.

    • Frankie M.

      August 15, 2021 at 2:06 pm

      “At-risk for the school districts are cuts to funding…”

      Ron DeSantis has eliminated the phrase “at-risk” as it applies to public schools. Please change to “at-hope.” Thx in advance.

      —Frankie Marmelade

  • Frankie M.

    August 15, 2021 at 6:57 pm

    P.S. How many school districts in Florida actually require masks as opposed to strongly encourage/recommend wearing masks? I know Duval county strongly recommends wearing masks making their opt out clause essentially meaningless. There is no discipline associated with not wearing masks regardless of any opt out clause or no. If this is the case in other Florida counties why bother with the charade? Make it a requirement with an opt out clause for parents in all FL counties. Otherwise don’t bother.

Comments are closed.


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