Florida Legislature Initiates $200 Million Funding Cut For School Districts Imposing Mask Mandates Against State Law

The Florida House of Representatives has begun cutting $200 million in education funding from several counties in next year’s budget, including Miami-Dade, Palm Beach, Broward, Alachua, and Leon. Republican Governor Ron DeSantis supports the defunding that comes from those counties’ defiance of the state ban on masking mandates in public K-12 schools. DeSantis added that Florida parents should have some compensation for harm done to their children because of illegal mandates.

Republican State Rep. Randy Fine proposed the budget cuts for districts with administrators with salaries of more than $100,000 annually. The funds cut from those districts would be reallocated to the remaining districts in the state.

Current evidence indicates that masks have had little, if any, impact on the spread of COVID-19 across the nation. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has published reports finding “no evidence” that surgical-type masks effectively reduce influenza transmission. Another study found that masks are a net negative because they cause dehydration, headaches, sweating, and lowered “cognitive precision.” Masks were specifically found harmful to childhood communication development and social learning.

Epidemiology Professor Vinay Prasad with the University of California-San Francisco wrote last September that the educational harms of masking policies are “much more firmly established” than any possible benefits in addressing the spread of the coronavirus. Prasad added that early childhood is crucially essential to developing social skills, cultural language, and body language detection on other people’s faces.

As Governor, DeSantis has been a strident supporter of conservative policy priorities. He has fought against COVID mandates and lockdowns and religious freedom, rights of unborn children, and the objective reality of biological gender. His prospects as a potential contender for the Republican nomination for President in the 2024 election have continued to grow as Florida has led the way in combating federal COVID overreach. Republicans nationwide are anxious to know whether President Donald Trump will announce plans to run again in 2024 and, if he does, whether DeSantis might be the prime candidate to become his running mate.