February 22st, 2021 Updated 9:38 A.M. ET
TALLAHASSEE (FCV) – As Florida legislators move forward with the coming fiscal year’s budget plan, Democrats are up-and-arms about a provision that would slash approximately $200 million in funding to multiple school districts who violated Florida law and mandated masks on students.
The budget provision, dubbed “Putting Parents First” by State Representative Randy Fine (R) who proposed the measure, is part of the fiscal package that comes into effect on this coming July 1 and runs through June 30, 2023 – HB 5001 (2022).
Democrats and left-wing figures like Agriculture Commissioner and gubernatorial candidate Nikki Fried (D) jumped on the now DeSantis-touted provision, who lambasted the idea of slashing funding:
Mainstream media outlets have promoted the misconception that the funding would slash funding for children and teachers. But in reality, the money is coming out of school administrators’ salaries who make more than $100 thousand per year.
In response to CBS 12 reporter Jay O’Brien’s Tweet saying that the $200 million would be cut from 12 school districts and citing remarks that it would negatively affect students, DeSantis Press Secretary Christina Pushaw explained what the bill actually does:
According to Pushaw, the funding will be redistributed to the other vast majority of Florida school districts – 55 of them – who followed the law and did not force-mask their children.
During the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021, Florida under DeSantis’ Administration instituted parental rights provisions which made it illegal for school districts to require their children wear masks. Schools were required to provide an “opt-out form” which would effectively make masks optional in all public schools.
DeSantis sparred with various districts, like Broward County, who decided to ignore Florida law. His administration made clear that schools who do not obey the law would face legal consequences like funding cuts.
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