Florida strips federal funding from schools as further punishment for masking

A man in a suit and a medical mask.

Enlarge / Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis wears a face mask during a press conference on July 13, 2020. (credit: Getty | CHANDAN KHANNA)

The state of Florida this week withheld nearly $700,000 in funding from two school districts as part of an escalating feud led by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis over school mask requirements.

The state had previously financially penalized the Alachua and Broward school boards by docking their salaries for issuing school mask requirements, which DeSantis has worked to ban. In response to the financial penalties, the Biden administration last month awarded the counties federal funding to compensate for losses. Alachua County was awarded $147,719 and Broward County Public Schools received $420,957 in federal grants under the US Department of Education (USDOE) Project Safe grant.

But this week, the Florida Department of Education took things a step further. For this month’s budgets, the Sunshine State docked the school boards’ salaries and overall school funding in amounts equal to the federal grants, effectively canceling out the counties’ federal aid.

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