Florida Governor Ron DeSantis‘ office announced Monday that the Florida Board of Education may act to withhold the salaries of school board officials who choose to go against the governor’s executive order and require facemasks in schools.
On July 30, the Republican governor issued an executive order banning mask mandates in Florida’s schools. And in a statement made by his office on Monday, DeSantis seemed to pressure superintendents and school board members, saying “Education funding is intended to benefit students first and foremost, not systems.”
“With respect to enforcing any financial consequences for noncompliance of state law regarding these rules and ultimately the rights of parents to make decisions about their children’s education and health care decisions,” DeSantis’ office said in the statement, “it would be the goal of the State Board of Education to narrowly tailor any financial consequences to the offense committed.”
“For example,” the statement continued, “the State Board of Education could move to withhold the salary of the district superintendent or school board members, as a narrowly tailored means to address the decision-makers who led to the violation of law.”
After DeSantis issued his statewide ban on mask mandates in schools, some school districts announced they still planned to require mask-wearing, at least temporarily, according to CDC guidelines.
Alachua County Public Schools in Gainsville and Duval County Public Schools in Jacksonville, for instance, announced mask mandates last week in light of Florida’s highest-ever COVID-19 cases numbers, which went against DeSantis’ order.
It is not yet clear what changes DeSantis’ Monday announcement will prompt if any.
This is a developing story and will be updated.