The Florida Board of Education voted Tuesday at an emergency meeting to find Alachua and Broward County public schools in noncompliance with an executive order banning schools from mandating masks on school property.
What You Need To Know
- Board of Education finds Alachua, Broward in noncompliance on school masks order
- Broward County mandate under discussion
- BELOW: Read Corcoran's letter to Broward County
- Related: Emergency COVID meeting set for Wednesday as thousands of Hillsborough students are quarantined
The decision means the state could withhold funding for the Alachua and Broward school districts under the executive order, including the salaries of the superintendents and the school boards.
However, the board stopped short of voting to impose penalties at this time. It amended the proposed action to recommend that Education Secretary Richard Corcoran further investigate the actions of the school districts, and especially the counties' school superintendents and school boards, and take "all legal steps" to enforce state rules.
State Board Chairman Tom Grady proposed, if appropriate, that penalties could include withholding funds for salaries for the superintendent and school board members or their removal from office. He also proposed a public records request to determine if the districts' funds were used for public relations to influence local policies.
Prior to the meeting, Corcoran released a statement to both districts stating he found "probable cause" that they violated the executive order by Gov. Ron DeSantis.
In the letter to Broward, he said: "Every school board member and every school superintendent have a duty to comply with the law, whether they agree with it or not. While the district may not agree with the safety protocols set forth by the Surgeon General in the emergency rule, the Surgeon General is the person who, under the law, sets protocols to control COVID-19 in schools."
You can read that letter by clicking here or scrolling to the bottom of this article.
The board previously passed an emergency rule to support the executive order. The original penalty included cuts to school district budgets. But for now only salaries of school board members and superintendents are targeted.
The meeting is set for late Tuesday afternoon.