Florida withholds school board salaries for an entire county due to mask mandate
The Florida Board of Education on Friday withheld the salaries for all school board members in Leon County, Fla.
On Friday, October 15, Leon County school board member Alva Striplin took to Facebook with an image of a letter from Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran. With the photo of the letter, Striplin wrote, "Lost my salary today."
Despite the setback, Striplin said that she would "focus on the good! Rates are down in our community significantly, our schools are open, and our children are learning and laughing in-person with their friends."
She added, "Thank you to our entire community for your patience with us during this time."
According to the Tallahassee Democrat, Corcoran's letter, which was addressed to the district's elected school board members, announced the withholding of salaries. Corcoran also expressed concern about the school district's mask mandate and the quarantine requirements for students exposed to COVID-19.
In the letter, Corcoran said, "that even though parents have the ultimate authority on whether their child wears a mask to school under the new local policy, it also requires asymptomatic children to wear a mask if they wish to return to school during the seven-day quarantine period."'
According to Corcoran, that requirement does not align with the state's new emergency rule. Until school board members comply with the state, their $40,000 annual salaries will be withheld. The publication reports that the state is currently withholding approximately $17,500 worth of salary funding for this month.
The latest comes amid county clashes with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) and his administration. For months now, DeSantis has railed against mask mandates, vaccine mandates, and vaccine passports. The Republican governor's ban on COVID mitigation measures for individual counties also serves as a pushback against the Biden administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).