Gov. Ron DeSantis reverses funding cut for school mask mandates

FILE - Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at Miami's Freedom Tower, on May 9, 2022. The Special...
FILE - Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at Miami's Freedom Tower, on May 9, 2022. The Special Olympics has dropped a coronavirus vaccine mandate for its games in Orlando after Florida moved to fine the organization $27.5 million for violating a state law against such rules. DeSantis, on Friday, June 3, 2022, announced that the organization had removed the requirement for its competition in the state, which is scheduled to run June 5 to June 12. (AP Photo/Marta Lavandier, File)(AP)
Published: Jun. 4, 2022 at 2:21 AM EDT
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A dozen Florida school districts — including those in Palm Beach and Indian River counties — won’t lose funding after all.

The budget passed by the Florida legislature included a $200 million loss for school districts that ignored Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis’ order banning mask mandates.

The loss of funding would have come from the School Recognition Fund which gives financial awards to schools that receive an ‘A’ grade or improve more than one letter grade on state assessments. The recognition program was amended to award school districts who did not enforce a mask mandate.

The $200-million cut from the districts who did have a mask mandate would've been dispersed among the state's other 55 school districts which did not.

Those districts include Martin, St. Lucie, and Okeechobee counties.

In a letter to education commissioner Manny Diaz Jr., DeSantis instructed the Department of Education to ignore the decision and "reward eligible schools for their achievements, as districts' actions have no bearing on a school's eligibility."

The governor said 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.

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