Education Commissioner: Dock pay from more school boards plus withhold additional state funds – Florida Phoenix

Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran has determined that at least 10 local school boards with strict mask mandates have violated Florida law and rules, and wants to dock pay from more boards, plus withhold more money — a new punishment.

That punishment be related to federal grants from the Biden administration.

Right now, the Biden administration has provided federal grants to local school board members whose salaries have been taken away by state education officials related to mask mandates.

But Corcoran wants to withhold “state funds in an amount equal to any federal grant funds” awarded to districts for not complying with DeSantis administration mask policies that say parents should determine if their students wear masks, not local school boards.

That would include not only withholding school board member salaries but also withholding state funds intending to backfill those salaries. So far, Alachua and Broward school districts have gotten federal grants to supplant what state officials took away.

The Florida Phoenix reached out to the U.S. Department of Education about the issue, but has not yet responded.

In letters sent to the State Board of Education members, Corcoran determined that school districts that do not allow students to opt-out of mask mandates through the sole discretion of their parents are breaking an emergency rule from the Florida Department of Health and a law related to parents’ rights at schools.

The State Board of Education will meet Thursday to go over the issues and approve or disapprove on how to proceed.

Corcoran said: “Should the State Board adopt