23 September (WNN) — The Biden administration on Thursday provided $147,719 in funding to Florida school board members whose pay was withheld for violating government Ron DeSantis’ ban on requiring masks in schools.
The Department of Education said the funding to members of the Alachua School Board was part of its project to support America’s Families and Teachers Grants Program. This was the first disbursement of funds under Project Safe.
Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said the Biden administration supports the Alachua school board’s decision to require masks during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We should thank districts for using proven strategies that will keep schools open and safe, not penalizing them,” he said. “With these grants, we are ensuring that schools and communities across the country that are committed to secure individualized learning know we have their backs.”
The Florida Department of Education announced on August 31 that it had withheld funding from two school districts that violated DeSantis’ executive order — Alachua and Broward counties.
The Republican governor issued an executive order preventing the issuance of mask mandates to schools and other government entities in case of COVID-19 cases in the state, arguing that it is up to parents to decide how to protect their children . As soon as the school districts went against his order, he threatened to withhold the salaries of those who continued to go against his rule.
School boards argued that masks were necessary because many students were too young to be vaccinated against COVID-19. The lack of a mask mandate put at risk not only students but also staff and families to whom they could bring the disease home.