August 20, 2021
FDOE Press Office
State Board of Education Orders School Boards of Alachua and Broward Counties to Follow the Law
~ Elected officials cannot pick and choose what laws they follow ~
Tallahassee, Fla., August 20, 2021 – Today, the State Board of Education issued the Alachua and Broward County school districts with an Order demanding that they comply with state statute and rule. School board members of districts have willingly and knowingly violated the rights of parents by denying them the option to make health care decisions for their children – a blatant violation of the Parents’ Bill of Rights, which Governor DeSantis signed into law on June 29, 2021.
The Florida Department of Education has provided each district with numerous opportunities to correct their behavior in an attempt to find an amicable resolution to no avail. The Department and the State Board of Education are committed to fulfilling their constitutional and statutory obligations to ensure all laws are faithfully implemented with fidelity.
“It is important to remember that this issue is about ensuring local school board members, elected politicians, follow the law. These public officials have sworn an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Florida. We cannot have government officials pick and choose what laws they want to follow,” said Commissioner of Education Corcoran. “These are the initial consequences to their intentional refusal to follow state law and state rule to purposefully and willingly violate the rights of parents. This is simply unacceptable behavior.”
On July 30, 2021, Governor DeSantis issued and signed Executive Order 21-175. The policies of Alachua and Broward County school districts also do not comply with Florida Department of Health Emergency Rule 64DER21-12, Florida Administrative Code (F.A.C.). That rule requires public schools to “allow for a parent or legal guardian of the student to opt-out the student from wearing a face covering or mask.”
Each order specifically requires both school districts to document compliance with the Parents’ Bill of Rights and Florida Department of Health Emergency Rule 64-DER21-2, F.A.C., within 48 hours of receipt of the Order. If they continue to fail or refuse to comply with the law, they are ordered to provide the Commissioner of Education with information confirming the current annual compensation provided to all school board members within 48 hours.
As an initial step, the Florida Department of Education will then begin to withhold from state funds, on a monthly basis, an amount equal to 1/12 of the total annual compensation of the school board members who voted to impose the unlawful mask mandates until each district demonstrates compliance. The Commissioner of Education and State Board of Education retain the right and duty to impose additional sanctions and take additional enforcement action to bring each school district into compliance with state law and rule.
The Order also prohibits each school district from reducing any other expenditures other than those related to compensation for school board members, and clearly states each district may not permit the reduction of funds that impact student services or teacher pay.
Copies of each Order can be found at the links below.