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Nine School Districts Face Fines Thursday

October 6th, 2021 by Mike Vasilinda

The number of school districts facing sanctions at Thursday’s State board of Education meeting over the districts’ mask policies is now down to nine.

Two districts, Sarasota and Hillsborough waited until the 11th hour before changing policies to allow parents to opt their children out of mask requirements.

Hillsborough County School Board members got an earful from parents Tuesday.

“We the people expect you to uphold the highest standards when it comes to parental rights,” said parent Elizabeth Thomas.

The board voted 6-1 to stop requiring a medical certificate and instead allow parents to opt out with an online form.

The move is expected to stop the state board from withholding thousands of dollars in school board salaries.

“So we have seen like a 93 percent decrease in the positive cases,” said Hillsborough Superintendent Addison Davis.

Davis told us it’s money the district could not lose.

“There are financial penalties that come with making decisions and where we are as an organization, we just don’t have the ability to lose any dollar and and cent,” said Davis.

A total of four districts have now backed down on their mask mandates.

Lee and Volusia backed down before the first fines were levied.

But there are still nine counties facing the loss of board salaries.

Alaucha and Broward also stand to lose over a half million dollars the Biden Administration sent to offset money lost in previous sanctions.

Alaucha Superintendent Dr. Carlee Simon argued the state’s energy could be better spent.

“We have significant needs in our school system that have been in the present situation with COVID as well as decades prior to. I would appreciate a focus on educating our children and less on punishing school districts,” said Simon.

The State Board meets Thursday at one pm by phone.

It’s a public meeting, so you can listen in by dialing 1-800-368-1029, passcode 380771.

The meeting is also being streamed on TheFloridaChannel.org.

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