Biden Vows Financial Support For Florida Educators Defying DeSantis On Mask Mandates
The Biden administration said that it will seek to give financial help to the school officials who are defying Gov. Ron DeSantis‘s (R-Florida) ban on mask mandates for their school districts.
The administration is looking to pay wages to the school officials on behalf of the state government as DeSantis is threatening to withhold their salaries.
“We are eager to partner with [Florida Department of Education] on any efforts to further our shared goals of protecting the health and safety of students and educators,” Education Secretary Miguel Cardona wrote in a letter to DeSantis and his Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran on Friday. “If FLDOE does not wish to pursue such an approach, the Department will continue to work directly with the school districts and educators that serve Florida’s students.”
On Tuesday, the Biden Administration had pledged it will support schools that might lose state funds for defying DeSantis’ executive order on mask rules.
“We are continuing to look for ways … for the U.S. government to support districts and schools as they try to follow the science, do the right thing and save lives,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said during a press briefing. “I would note what is publicly available and knowable is that the American Rescue Plan funds that were distributed to Florida to provide assistance to schools have not yet been distributed from the state level.”
“They’re federal funds and … they’re under federal discretion, so they just need to be distributed to these schools. We’re looking into what’s possible,” Psaki added.
Governor’s office has stated Monday that the state board of education could withhold the salaries of school officials – superintendents and school board – who do not follow the governor’s executive order that bans mandatory mask orders in school districts. The decision came despite the Flordia becoming the epicenter of the COVID-19 in recent weeks.