Last Call for 10.12.21 — 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

U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist and other members of the Florida Congressional Delegation sent a letter to Gov. Ron DeSantis and Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran urging them to send billions in federal aid to Florida school districts.

More than $7 billion was set aside for Florida schools in the American Rescue Plan, but the state has lagged in delivering the initial $4.6 billion to schools and in submitting a plan on how to spend the final third, jeopardizing its release from the federal government.

Florida was expected to allocate the first $4.6 billion by May 24 and submit a fund distribution plan by June 7 to receive the remaining $2.3 billion. The plan wasn’t submitted to the U.S. Department of Education until Monday.

“The delay was fiscally irresponsible and wrong. It needlessly put Florida children at a disadvantage compared to children in other states. These resources are especially important in a state that is ranked 46th in per-pupil support for students,” reads the letter signed by the 10 Democrats representing Florida in the U.S. House.

The lawmakers asked DeSantis and Corcoran to shelve their “misguided” crusade against school mask mandates and implored them to “make up for lost ground” by focusing on getting the federal cash to schools.

Crist, seeking the Democratic nomination for Governor, further chastised DeSantis in a news release accompanying the letter.

“Keeping our students, and their families and teachers safe and in class is paramount. Delaying the distribution of the funds to our students and teachers — invaluable aid as they learn and teach during the pandemic — is unconscionable,” he said.

“This delay, on top of the Governor’s move to defund schools that implement common-sense COVID measures, is pitiful — Florida students and teachers deserve better.”

Evening Reads

Health Department fines Leon County $3.57M for vax mandate” via Renzo Downey of Florida Politics

Hundreds of police officers have died from COVID-19. Vaccines remain a hard sell.” via Mitch Smith of The New York Times

Gov. Ron DeSantis on First Lady’s cancer diagnosis: ‘She just wanted to be honest with people’” via Michael Moline of the Florida Phoenix

Millions of people left behind by the vaccine are facing a stark future” via Tim Requarth of Slate

The mysterious case of the COVID-19 lab-leak theory” via Carolyn Kormann of The New Yorker

The problem with America’s semi-rich” via Emily Stewart of Vox

Florida, national school board associations at odds over federal call for protection” via Anne Geggis of Florida Politics

Almost 3% of U.S. workforce quit in August” via Eli Rosenberg and Abha Bhattarai of The Washington Post

DeSantis administration wants to shuffle Medicaid managed care market” via Christine Jordan Sexton of Florida Politics

As William Shatner heads toward the stars, visions of space collide” via Ted Anthony of The Associated Press

Slackers of the world, unite! Why employees love the software, and bosses don’t” via Ellen Cushing of The Atlantic

Quote of the Day

“There is a genuine disagreement about the applicability of the statute and rule, and the county will enforce its rights using any remedies available at law, if necessary.” — Leon County administrator Vincent Long, on the $3.57M vaccine mandate fine.

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