DeSantis Defunds School Districts Over Mask Mandate

The Associated Press reports:

The state of Florida has docked a school district more than $164,000 for defying a ban on classroom mask mandates and for being awarded a federal coronavirus grant, county school officials said Wednesday.

Alachua County Public Schools Superintendent Carlee Simon said the penalty includes monthly salaries of its school board members as well as the full amount of a federal virus grant the county applied for last month. Simon said the county was awarded more than $147,000 through the grant but has not yet used any of the funds.

The penalty is the latest development in an ongoing feud between the White House and Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration over coronavirus regulations.

The Hill reports

Separately, Broward County said the state withheld more than $450,000, which the county said encompasses the monthly school board salary as well as the full amount of federal grant funding. Since August, the county said Florida has withheld nearly $530,000 in funding.

The announcements come just one day after the Biden administration warned the state that such a move would violate federal law, and represents an escalation of the administration’s battle with Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) over COVID-19 safety measures in schools.