After Florida’s Board of Education made public their plans to deduct salaries from the state’s funding for members in districts implementing mask mandates, Education Secretary Miguel Cardona answered back.
According to Forbes, Cardona reiterated Sunday those schools and any others will be able to replace their lost funding with federal funds that were already allocated for those districts.
Cardona said he told superintendents in those districts the White House “[has] their back” and noted the state cannot block the districts’ access to those federal dollars.
The Education Secretary stated that public schools who wish to implement mask mandates cannot be denied federal funds, and added that the administration would investigate states who do, through the Office for Civil Rights.
As mentioned by Cardona, if authorities block districts from “voluntarily adopting science-based strategies” that prevent Covid-19 transmission, they may be in violation of a stipulation in the American Rescue Plan Act that gives states federal funding “to adopt a plan for the safe return to in-person instruction.”
If, however, the states continue blocking these funds, the Education Secretary said the Biden administration would use federal funds to make up the difference, a move that would not require approval from governors.”We have to do everything in our power to keep them safe,” Cardona said. “I spoke to the superintendents of those two communities and I let them know that we have their back. And yes, they can draw down on the funds that were promised to them so they can safely reopen schools.”