Florida bucks Biden, strips federal aid from mask mandate schools

The Florida Department of Education this week stripped a local school board of federal aid money over its masking policy, directly defying the Biden administration, which cautioned the state against the sanctions.

Florida officials yanked the federal grant money for Alachua County that was meant to offset penalties for enacting a local mask mandate just one day after the U.S. Department of Education warned that the move would violate requirements in federal law, a clear sign that the state and feds are still at odds over Covid-19 policies.

School leaders in Alachua claim the state made the cuts to their October budget before the federal money even arrived, taking funding away from supporting students.

“I am appalled that the state would penalize the district by pulling funding we have not even received,” said Carlee Simon, Alachua County Public Schools superintendent, in a statement Wednesday.