White House Says Florida School Officials Penalized over Mask-Mandate Ban Could Be Federally Reimbursed

Florida Guv Ron DeSantis at CPAC in Orlando, Fla., February 26, 2021. (Joe Skipper/Reuters)

The Biden administration sent out a letter to Republican Florida guv Ron DeSantis recommending that any school authorities punished over the state’s restriction of mask requireds might be repaid with federal funds.

“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 ESSER funds at the sole and complete discretion of Florida school districts,” it checks out.

Penned by Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, the letter disagreed with DeSantis’s current executive order restricting public-school districts from enforcing mask requireds on trainees, professors, and personnel.

“Florida’s recent actions to block school districts from voluntarily adopting science-based strategies for preventing the spread of COVID-19 that are aligned with the guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) puts students and staff at risk,” it continued.

The file mentioned that the Department of Education stands in uniformity with and prepares to support the handful of Florida districts withstanding the guv’s regulation. Particularly, Cardona stated the administration will think about siphoning off cash from the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Situation Relief Fund (ESSER), offered under the American Rescue Strategy Act of 2021 (ARP Act), to compensate school personnel that have actually had incomes kept for disobeying the guv’s order by needing face-coverings in schools.

Appropriate usages of the ESSER funds consist of “activities that are necessary to maintain the operation of and continuity of services in local educational agencies and continuing to employ existing staff of the local educational agency,” Cardona estimated.

The letter implicates Florida of “threatening to withhold State funds from school districts that are working to reopen schools safely rather than protecting students and educators and getting school districts the Federal pandemic recovery funds to which they are entitled.”

At a press instruction previously today, White Home press secretary Jen Psaki condemned DeSantis’s order and recommended that the administration might turn to federally repaying school districts that get their funds withdrawed for not enabling moms and dads to opt-out of policies that need masking in the class.

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Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.