The Biden administration has offered to pay off Florida schools that defy Governor Ron DeSantis’ ban on mandatory mask requirements.
DeSantis signed an executive order last month banning mandatory masks in schools and on Monday threatened to withhold the salaries of school board members and superintendents who refuse to comply
In a letter to DeSantis and the Florida education commissioner on Friday, Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona said that districts have “sole and complete discretion” to pay salaries that are withheld by the state for violating the order.
“We are eager to partner with [the Florida Department of Education] on any efforts to further our shared goals of protecting the health and safety of students and educators,” Cardona wrote. “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.”
“Any threat by Florida to withhold salaries from superintendents and school board members who are working to protect students and educators (or to levy other financial penalties) can be addressed using Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief [ESSER] funds at the sole and complete discretion of Florida school districts,” Cardona wrote.
Biden has personally called school districts that have refused to comply with the order to offer his support, according to a report from the Miami Herald.
The New York Post reports that a DeSantis spokeswoman blasted the Biden administration for wanting to spend federal funds “on the salaries of superintendents and elected politicians, who don’t believe that parents have a right to choose what’s best for their children, than on Florida’s students, which is what these funds should be used for.”
As the Gateway Pundit previously reported, the Broward County School Board voted 8-1 on Tuesday to keep its mask mandate in place, in defiance of the order.
“Wearing masks inside schools regardless of vaccine status is required to deal with the changing realities of virus transmission. It is a necessary precaution until children under 12 can receive a COVID-19 vaccination and more Americans 12 and older get vaccinated,” Anna Fusco, the Broward Teachers Union President, said in a statement.
Leon and Alachua counties are also enforcing mask mandates.