Education Commissioner threatens withholding board member salaries over DCPS mask mandate

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The Florida Board of Education is demanding Duval County Public School change its’ mask requirements immediately or funds may be withheld.

The state sent DCPS a letter, addressed to Superintendent Dr. Diana Greene and board chairman Elizabeth Anderson Friday.

In the letter, education commissioner Richard Corcoran claims DCPS’s mask mandate violates Governor Ron DeSantis’ executive order.

DeSantis’ order, issued Aug. 6, requires schools to let students opt out of wearing a mask if their parent/guardian signs off on it.

In DCPS’ mask mandate, which was voted into order during an emergency meeting last week, students can only opt out of wearing a mask if a doctor signs off for a medical, physical, or psychological reason. The new requirement is set to start Sept. 7.

Corcoran said if the district does not comply with the Governor’s executive order he will recommend the state department withhold funds equal to the salaries for all board members.

Corcoran demands the district respond in writing by 5 p.m. Wednesday with how they plan to comply with the governor’s orders.

The district and Board Chair Anderson said DCPS is working with its legal counsel to respond as quickly as possible.

Duval County now joins at least seven total districts across Florida that received a similar letter from the Department of Education including:

  • Alachua
  • Leon
  • Hillsborough
  • Sarasota
  • Palm Beach
  • Broward

The state sent DCPS the letter Friday, August 27, which was the same day a judge ruled against the Governor’s ban on mask mandates. Gov. DeSantis said he would appeal the decision.

You can read the full letter from the Florida Department of Education below:

Bailey Husker

Bailey Husker, Action News Jax

Bailey Husker is a digital content producer and assignment editor for Action News Jax.