Sep 23, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Biden administration begins reimbursing Florida districts that had funds held over mask mandates

Miguel Cardona, U.S. secretary of education, speaks during a news conference in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, Aug. 5.

Photo: Sarah Silbiger/UPI/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Department of Education on Thursday reimbursed about $148,000 to a Florida school district that was penalized for mandating masks for in-person learning.

Why it matters: The award is the first under the administration's Project to Support America's Families and Educators grant program. Florida had withheld funds from Alachua County in August, after it defied Gov. Ron DeSantis' order banning mask mandates in schools.

What they're saying: "The funding will help districts keep these measures in place and maintain district and school stability despite the financial penalty," Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said in a statement.

  • "With these grants, we're making sure schools and communities across the country that are committed to safely returning to in-person learning know that we have their backs."

State of play: The U.S. Department of Education announced in August that it had launched investigations into five GOP-led states — Iowa, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and Utah — that banned mask mandates in schools.

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