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DeSantis: Schools in districts that had mask mandates may receive funding

Leon County Schools had mask mandate during pandemic
Leon County Schools
Posted at 11:31 PM, Jun 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-03 23:34:44-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis instructed his newly appointed Florida Department of Education commissioner to reward funds to eligible schools in districts that implemented mask mandates for students during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a letter to education commissioner Manny Diaz, Jr. Thursday, DeSantis noted that, “A plain reading of the existing statute for the Florida School Recognition Program and revisions herein HB 5003 make awards to schools, not districts, based on schools’ grades."

The governor went on to say that compliance with the law by schools and not the districts is key in allocation of funds for the program.

DeSantis added that districts have no lawful means to spend the funding.

The governor ended the letter stating:

“Accordingly, as Governor, I direct the Department of Education to implement the Florida School Recognition Program consistent with the reading of the language, which is to reward eligible schools for their achievements, as districts’ actions have no bearing on a school’s eligibility.”

Leon County Schools District was one of 12 school districts in the state that required students to wear a mask or face covering during the coronavirus pandemic.

Schools in those districts were collectively set to not receive $200 million in funding.

Schools in LCS were expected to lose out in a significant amount of funding because of its enforcement of a mask mandate.

Last November, DeSantis signed the “Parents’ Bill of Rights” bill into law which, among other items, prohibited mask mandates in public school districts.

The Leon County School District did comply with the new law in December.

DeSantis Letter to Diaz, Jr. by WTXL ABC27 on Scribd