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Florida lawmakers debate reallocating $200 million to school districts that didn't impose mask mandates

Under the proposal, Duval County would lose $10.6 million while all other First Coast counties would stand to gain more funding.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Florida lawmakers are debating what could ultimately become a costly decision over mandating masks.

"We are going to reward those school districts that stand with us and stand with parents," said House Republican Rep. Randy Fine.

There's talk of taking away $200 million dollars in funding from 12 districts, including Duval, that voted in favor of requiring masks last year.

Fine is sponsoring the 'Putting Parents First Adjustment' by rewarding districts who followed the law while financially targeting those that did not. 

"The next time school districts think whether they have to follow state law, hopefully they will think about it a little harder," he told First Coast News.

Fine calculated the $200 million by combining the salaries of 1,644 district office employees in those 12 counties who make $100,000 or more.

That money would then be spread to the 55 counties that did not have masks mandates.  "

Paying a bureaucrat that sits in a cushy central office doing who-knows-what, more than double what a starting teacher makes, I think it's a fair question to ask if those positions should exist in any state of the world," he said.

Teacher salaries would not be affected. It's unclear if the salaries of superintendents are included in that total.

Duval County would lose $10.6 million while our other counties would stand to gain more funding. For a full county-by-county breakdown, click here.

There is some pushback from other lawmakers who call district level administrators 'necessary.'

"So, you are going to deduct from their pot, that money, but some administrators are necessary," said Democrat Rep. Robin Bartleman.

A spokesperson for Duval County Schools said: 

"The District typically doesn't comment on pending bills or proposals. Once proposed legislation is final and signed into law, we would take appropriate steps to comply and would then be able to address questions about the impact of successful legislation on the district."

The House Appropriations Committee is set to vote on the legislation this Wednesday.


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