In doing so, the state board stated that school districts in Alachua, Brevard, Broward, Duval, Leon, Miami-Dade, Orange and Palm Beach counties weren’t in compliance and instantly violating a Florida Department of Health emergency rule.
As a penalty, Florida Board of Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran has requested that funds for every district be withheld “in an quantity equal to 1/12 of all school board members’ salaries,” as well as to withholding any quantity equal to federal grant funds awarded to these districts by President Joe Biden’s administration.
In feedback to the state board, superintendents from these districts argued Thursday they have been in compliance, with many citing the growing Covid-19 case counts and the unfold in school as causes for having the mask mandates.
Duval County Schools Superintendent Diana Greene famous that after the second week of school opening, the district recorded 10 worker deaths.
Additionally, the Department of Health had a “clear incapability” to full contact tracing, case investigations and well timed notifications to impacted households, she stated, which had “a direct affect of the unfold of the virus all through our school, in the end jeopardizing the well being and security of college students and workers.”
Brevard County Schools Superintendent Mark Mullins argued the mask mandates have been needed after faculties opened with out them, main to “catastrophic outcomes for our faculties and neighborhood.”
“We had over 3,200 constructive instances, had to shut down one school and have been on the brink of having shut down others,” Mullins stated, including that employees members have been additionally hospitalized.
In an announcement issued Thursday, Alachua County Superintendent Carlee Simon stated the district would “keep its present masking protocols” regardless of the sanction, saying, “We imagine these protocols comply with state regulation and our constitutional obligation to present college students with a secure studying surroundings.”
In its personal assertion, the state Board of Education stated, partly, that the school board members of the eight sanctioned districts had “willingly and knowingly violated the rights of college students and oldsters by denying them the choice to make private and personal well being care and academic selections for his or her youngsters.”
“Elected school board members ought to set a superb instance for our leaders of tomorrow,” State Board of Education Chair Tom Grady stated. “Instead, they’re telling our youthful generations that it’s completely acceptable to decide and select what legal guidelines they observe as a result of they disagree with the underlying coverage. That is solely unacceptable and antithetical to our Constitution.”
Board of Education commissioner criticizes federal grants
“I strongly imagine that this federal grant program improperly makes an attempt to intervene with the state board’s authority to handle our state’s instructional system. Education is a state duty, not a federal one and one given to this board beneath our state’s structure,” Corcoran stated.
In response, Ian Rosenblum, deputy assistant secretary for Policy and Programs on the Department of Education, despatched a letter to Corcoran Thursday that stated efforts to withhold extra funding from faculties offered “authorized considerations.”
“We needs to be thanking districts for utilizing confirmed methods that can preserve faculties open and secure, not punishing them. We stand with the devoted educators in Alachua and throughout the nation doing the best factor to defend their school communities,” US Education Secretary Miguel Cardona stated final month.
“With these grants, we’re ensuring faculties and communities throughout the nation which might be dedicated to safely returning to in-person studying know that we’ve their backs,” he stated.
6 districts filed petition difficult rule
Six of the districts filed a petition in opposition to the Department of Health Wednesday, difficult the rule that blocked the implementation of mask mandates and one other permitting dad and mom to determine if their pupil ought to quarantine after being uncovered to Covid-19.
The petition was filed with the Florida Division of Administrative Affairs on behalf of the Miami-Dade, Broward, Orange, Duval, Alachua and Leon County school boards.
The petition particularly challenged the rule permitting dad and mom to choose their youngsters out of mask mandates, calling it “arbitrary and capricious.”
The rule, the petitioners claimed, “is definitely centered not on controlling COVID-19 however somewhat on defending parental rights.”
“The DOH doesn’t have rulemaking authority on this space,” the petition stated, “and thus exceeded its rulemaking authority.”
Correction: An earlier model of this story incorrectly recognized the county the place Mark Mullins works. He is the superintendent of Brevard County Public Schools.
CNN’s Ashley Ahn contributed to this report.