Last Call for 9.23.21 — A prime-time read of what’s going down in Florida politics

A digest of the day's politics and policy while the bartender refreshes your drink.

Last Call — A prime-time read of what’s going down in Florida politics.

First Shot

The state withheld cash from Alachua County Public Schools over its school mask mandate, but the district’s bank account won’t take a hit, thanks to the Joe Biden administration.

The school district announced Thursday that it had received a $148,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Project Safe program to backfill the funds that have been withheld.

“With these grants, we’re making sure schools and communities across the country that are committed to safely returning to in-person learning know that we have their backs,” U.S. Department of Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said. “I commend Alachua for protecting its students and educators and I look forward to working with them to provide students their best year yet.”

Alachua Schools Superintendent Carlee Simon said, “I’m very grateful to Mr. Cardona, President Biden and the federal government for the funding. But I’m even more grateful for their continued support and encouragement of our efforts to protect students and staff and to keep our schools open for in-person learning.”

Simon learned Alachua would receive the funding during a Thursday phone call with Cardona, who also congratulated Simon for the steps the district has taken to mitigate the virus’ spread.

Alachua is the first school district in the country to receive a grant through the Project Safe program.

So far, the state has withheld two months-worth of salaries — about $27,000 — for the Alachua County School Board members who voted in favor of a school mask mandate.

Evening Reads

The most important vaccine I’ll get this fall” via Katherine J. Wu of The Atlantic

Florida’s mysterious COVID-19 surge” via German Lopez of Vox

Senate Agriculture Committee targets racial inequality among farmers” via Jason Delgado of Florida Politics

Orphaned, infected, in crisis: How the pandemic is traumatizing kids” via Laura Olson of the Florida Phoenix

Gov. Ron DeSantis says natural immunity is equal to vaccines. Experts say it’s not so simple” via Bianca Padro Ocasio and Daniel Chang of the Miami Herald

New Florida Surgeon General appeared at demon-sperm COVID-19 conspiracy summit with future Capitol rioter” via Ben Mathis-Lilley of Slate

Tina Polsky, Dan Daley again push ‘Jaime’s Law’ to vet the sale and transfer of ammo” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics

Mapping America’s hospitalization and vaccination divide” via Zach Levitt and Dan Keating of The Washington Post

The tangled tale of the Israel consulate, the Dilbert cartoonist and the Matt Gaetz case” via Marc Caputo of POLITICO

Reading a novel set entirely in Slack” via Katy Waldman of The New Yorker

Quote of the Day

“The notion that the leaders at the top of the state on this issue would be saying it’s OK to send kids with COVID into classrooms, it’s unconscionable.” U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist, criticizing the new rule allowing students exposed to COVID-19 to attend school.

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One comment

  • Gail Wepner

    September 27, 2021 at 2:03 pm

    Gov. DeSantis is nuts. Where does his daughter go to school? I bet that she is in a very private school and it’s paid for with stimulus money. He’s a liar and crooked just like his idol Donkey Trump.

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