TALLAHASSEE, Fla — The Florida Department of Education has withheld monthly school board member salaries in Alachua and Broward counties for requiring face masks without opt-out options.
Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran made the announcement Monday, saying "each district has implemented a mandatory face mask policy that violates parental rights by not allowing a parent or legal guardian to opt-out their child, as required by Florida Department of Health Emergency Rule 64DER21-12."
The withholding of funds will continue monthly until each school board complies with state law and rule, the commissioner's office said.
"We’re going to fight to protect parent’s rights to make health care decisions for their children," Corcoran wrote in a statement. "They know what is best for their children."
On Aug. 20, the State Board of Education issued the Alachua and Broward County school districts an order demanding they comply with a state statute put in place by Gov. Ron DeSantis. However, neither school system has removed its face mask policy.
But we should note: On Friday, Aug. 27, a judge ruled against the governor's ban on school mask mandates, meaning individual school districts have the power to decide whether to require students and staff to wear masks, without fear of a financial penalty from the state.
The state is challenging that ruling. Amid this court battle, it's unclear how long Florida's withholding of funds will last.