The Florida Board of Education is scheduling an emergency meeting on August 17 to discuss Alachua and Broward school districts regarding their mask mandates which go against Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ executive order banning mask mandates.
Earlier in the week, withholding salaries was a possible ramification, but after DeSantis and the Florida Department of Education slightly backtracked on the issue, their focus is now just funding cuts for the defiant districts. But, where the funding cuts come from is up to the school district.
“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,” according to the DOE’s agenda.
The BOE is expected to have received responses from the two districts by 5:00 p.m. Friday.
“Moreover, the meeting is arranged to occur as quickly as possible after the Department of Education receives responses from Broward and Alachua to the Department of Education’s inquiries about compliance with the health protocols found in the Department of Health’s emergency rule,” the agenda said.
Other school districts have attempted to work around DeSantis’ mask mandate ban, notably Leon, Duval, and Hillsborough County school districts. They have not received the same ire from the state since they have imposed mask mandates with parental opt-out forms.
DeSantis has maintained his executive order does not infringe on the rights of school districts but prevents governmental bodies from infringing on the rights of the parents.
“I just want to say, in Florida, there will be no lockdowns, there will be no school closures … no restrictions, and no mandates in the state of Florida,” DeSantis said. “Floridians have been, are, and will remain, free to choose what’s best for themselves and their families, and we will protect their right to work. We’ll protect the right of businesses to operate, and we will protect the right of our kids to attend school in person.”
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Grant Holcomb is a reporter at the Florida Capital Star and The Star News Network. Follow Grant on Twitter and direct message tips.