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Corcoran announces cuts to Broward County Public Schools’ funding over face mask mandate

Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran is following through with his threat to cut funding from Broward County Public Schools over the face mask mandate implemented when the 2021-22 school year began on Aug. 18.
Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran is following through with his threat to cut funding from Broward County Public Schools over the face mask mandate implemented when the 2021-22 school year began on Aug. 18.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran is following through with his threat to cut funding from Broward County Public Schools over the face mask mandate implemented when the 2021-22 school year began on Aug. 18.

Corcoran announced the Florida Department of Education will withhold funding equal to the salaries of the School Board of Broward County members salaries because a Florida Department of Health emergency rule requires a nonmedical opt-out for parents. Broward has a medical opt-out.

Corcoran is also implementing punitive funding cuts to Alachua County Public Schools. There are eight other school districts, including Miami-Dade County, that have also remained defiant of Gov. Ron DeSantis’s July 30 executive order.

To maximize protection from the Delta variant at schools, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended students age 12 and older be vaccinated against COVID and wear a face mask indoors in areas of high transmission like Broward.

President Joe Biden’s administration committed to using COVID-relief funding to fill the funding gap related to the implementation of the CDC recommendation at public schools in Florida.

On Friday, Leon County Circuit Judge John C. Cooper ruled DeSantis’s order was unconstitutional after ruling in a lawsuit a group of parents filed against DeSantis and the Florida Department of Education. The ruling wasn’t in effect when Corcoran made the announcement. DeSantis said the state will appeal the case.

Broward County Public Schools Interim Superintendent Vickie Cartwright released the following statement:

“Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) and the Broward County School Board believe we are in compliance. In the spirit of cooperation, the District is continuing to comply with the sanction imposed by Florida’s Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran regarding daily reporting of students who face a consequence for not wearing a mask. The health and safety of our students, teachers and staff continue to be our main priorities. As such, BCPS will continue to mandate masks, knowing the data shows they help minimize the spread of COVID-19 in our schools. As previously stated, this decision will be reviewed by the School Board after Labor Day as conditions may change and modification may be appropriate.”

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About the Authors:

In January 2017, Hatzel Vela became the first local television journalist in the country to move to Cuba and cover the island from the inside. During his time living and working in Cuba, he covered some of the most significant stories in a post-Fidel Castro Cuba. 

The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.