Florida penalizes Alachua County School District over masks, federal grant

High school students wearing masks on their way home
The state withheld $164,000 after the federal government sent the school district $147,000.

The state of Florida has docked a school district more than $164,000 for defying a ban on classroom mask mandates and for being awarded a federal coronavirus grant, county school officials said Wednesday.

Alachua County Public Schools Superintendent Carlee Simon said the penalty includes monthly salaries of its school board members as well as the full amount of a federal virus grant the county applied for last month. Simon said the county was awarded more than $147,000 through the grant but has not yet used any of the funds.

The penalty is the latest development in an ongoing feud between the White House and Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration over coronavirus regulations. DeSantis is eyeing a possible 2024 presidential run and is one of several GOP governors who have moved to ban mask mandates, though policies on face coverings, testing and quarantines in schools vary widely across the country.

The Florida State Board of Education earlier this month approved plans to withhold a month’s salary from school board members in districts with classroom mask requirements and reduce overall funding if those counties receive a federal grant intended to blunt the state’s fines.

The announcement from Alachua County comes days after the U.S. Department of Education sent a letter to Florida warning that deducting money from districts that received the grant would violate federal law. The letter added that the federal government “is prepared to initiate enforcement action to stop these impermissible state actions.”

The state education department did not immediately comment. The federal education department did not immediately return an email seeking comment.

Associated Press


3 comments

  • PeterH

    October 27, 2021 at 6:43 pm

    A decade ago, Conservative Republican Bobby Jindal warned that the GQP was leaning in the direction of becoming America’s “Party of Stupid”….. The policies of Ron DeSantis are validating Jindal’s prediction!

  • Vernon

    October 28, 2021 at 8:40 pm

    Outstanding Job Governor!! Shut them down completely. Alachua Administrators and their Superintendent are Radical Left Democrat Trash Breaking the Law. Stick them in Jail next. FJB!

  • kathy

    October 29, 2021 at 6:00 pm

    First the governor tries to kill all the residents of Florida by not following science. Since he only killed about 56,000 he moves on to children. His denial of what is best for children has risked the lives of thousands. Thank God for the Alachua County School Boards leadership in protecting children. So much for Nazi DeSantis and letting local governments rule.

Comments are closed.


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