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Broward County Public Schools has received more than $420,000 from President Joe Biden’s administration to make up for state pay cuts imposed over a board’s vote for a student anti-coronavirus mask mandate.
Officials said in a news release Tuesday that the district has received $420,957 in funding through a U.S. Department of Education program.
Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis and state education officials began cutting salaries paid to school board members in Florida who voted to require masks for students. DeSantis favors allowing parents to decide whether their children wear face coverings and is in the midst of court battles over this broader issue.
About a dozen school boards in Florida, representing more than half the state’s students, have voted to defy the state ban on mask mandates despite the DeSantis decision to withhold some of their funding.
The Broward County School Board voted in late July to keep its facial covering policy in place, and in August, the state began withholding $35,000 each month from the district’s funding.
A little over $70,000 has been withheld from Broward to date.
“We are grateful for the support of the federal government in helping us continue to protect our students and staff from COVID-19,” said Interim Broward Schools Superintendent Dr. Vickie Cartwright. “I support our School Board for their focus on doing what is in the best interest of our families to ensure our schools continue to provide safe and healthy learning environments.”
Last week, Alachua County became the first district in Florida to receive the federal funding.