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Broward Superintendent, School Board Remain Firm On Mask Mandate, Despite Penalty From Education Department

FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) - Members of Broward's School Board met Tuesday where they discussed Florida Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran sanctions that are being imposed due to the district's face covering policy.

On Monday, the Florida Department of Education followed through on its threat to withhold monthly school board member salaries who violate Gov. Ron DeSantis' ban on mask mandates, even though a judge has already ruled the ban on mandates is unconstitutional.

School board members have said that they are willing to forfeit their $40,000 plus salaries in an effort to keep students and teachers safe.

"We continue to receive legal advisement that we are in compliance to the rules as well as to the order that was put out there," Broward Schools interim Superintendent Dr. Vickie Cartwright told the board members.

DeSantis' executive order states that it should be up to parents if their children wear masks in schools.

Broward school's policy does allow an opt-out option, but only for medical reasons or students with special needs. Cartwright said they are also complying with the education department's directive that they report the number of students who face consequences for not wearing a mask.

"The health and the safety of our students, teachers, and staff continues to be our highest priority. As such, we will continue to mandate the mask, knowing that our data as we're looking at it or quarantine data is demonstrating that the use of the mask is helping to minimize the spread of COVID-19," said Cartwright.

Corcoran's penalty comes after Friday's ruling by Leon County Circuit Judge John C. Cooper that the ban on the mandates is unconstitutional and cannot be enforced.

Broward schools interim attorney Marylin Batista said they believe they are following the state's Constitution.

"The language of the school board shall operate, control, and supervise all free public schools was held by Judge Cooper to be paramount and to override, in this case, the actions of the executive order from the governor," she said.

Corcoran said additional sanctions and enforcement action may be imposed if the school board does not lift the mask mandate.

DeSantis has vowed to appeal the judge's ruling, which could happen this week.

The school board remains firm in their belief they will win this battle ultimately in court.

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