Biden offers cash to Florida schools that defy DeSantis mask ban

The Biden administration is providing cash to Florida faculty districts that defy Gov. Ron DeSantis’ mask ban as COVID-19 deaths and hospitalizations rose within the state.

Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona on Friday sent a letter to DeSantis and the Florida schooling commissioner saying faculty districts can at their “sole and complete discretion” use federal funds to pay the salaries of directors and board members withheld by the state for defying 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.”

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.”

U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona talks about the necessity to get vaccinated in regards to schools on Aug. 9, 2021.
US Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona talks the significance of getting the need to get vaccinated with regard to schools on Aug. 9, 2021.

The Republican governor final month signed an executive order banning faculty districts from making face masks necessary for college students and employees defending “parents’ freedom to choose.” The order got here days after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention really helpful all college students and employees put on masks after they return this fall.

On Monday, the governor’s workplace threatened to withhold the salaries of faculty board members and superintendents who didn’t adjust to the ban. DeSantis has additionally threatened to withhold state funding from districts as effectively.

But Cardona stated that native faculty leaders ought to be allowed to make their very own mask guidelines.

“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.

Ira Gardner, 7, holds his sign in support of masking in schools .
Ira Gardner, 7, holds his signal supporting masking in schools at a rally in Jacksonville, Florida.
Bob Self/The Florida Times-Union by way of AP

Florida acquired over $7 billion in help funds as a part of the American Relief Plan, 90 % of which is designated for ESSR funding, according to Politico. Cordona accused the varsity of not delivering faculty districts that funding by May 24 when it ought to have.

“In fact, it appears that Florida has prioritized 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,” he wrote.

President Biden has been feuding with DeSantis over the mask mandate ban — and just lately personally personally known as faculty districts who’ve stood up to the order, in accordance to the Miami Herald.

He instructed one, Broward County, stands prepared to help their faculty districts and communities to get again to secure, full-time, in-person studying,” the Herald reported.

Four Broward County district academics died of COVID-19 throughout the span of 24 hours this week, Broward Teachers Union President Anna Fusco told CBS News.

Broward and Alachua County are solely two of the state’s 67 districts that have adopted mask mandates.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis speaks at a news conference related to the situation in Cuba, Thursday, Aug. 5, 2021.
A spokeswoman for DeSantis strongly criticized the transfer from the Biden administration.
Marta Lavandier/AP

Cardona added that he’s “deeply concerned” concerning the governor’s government order because the state’s coronavirus outbreak appears to be taking a flip for the more serious.

Florida well being officers stated Friday that the variety of deaths from COVID-19 jumped considerably to 1,000 this week, from the 600 reported the earlier week, elevating the state’s dying toll to 40,766.

Hospitalizations rose barely on Friday from 15,358 to 15,441 sufferers, together with about 3,200 who’re in intensive care models. 

The Sunshine State is now averaging 21,680 circumstances per day over the past week, officers stated.

With Post wires

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