Florida legislators are including rewards and punishments into state budget negotiations. Both the House and Senate are working together to develop a plan to hold schools districts responsible for violating state law that prohibited mask mandates.
Republican Senator Kelli Stargel, Senate budget negotiator, and Republican Jay Trumbull, House negotiator, had reached an agreement to return $200 million to the Florida School Recognition Program. However this would limit financial benefits for the 55 school districts that have followed the law by dropping the mask requirements.
The changes made would mean that the budget offset would not be available to the 12 districts. However, they would lose funding that supports student performance or provides support for students. The districts don’t lose out on the estimated $200 million, but they do lose their share of a $200million pot.
Trumbull explained to reporters that the fund was a way of saying “hey, if your children and school are doing well, then you can draw down some resources.” You won’t get those resources if you break the law. This is as clear as it gets.
Florida School Recognition Program offers “greater autonomy” and financial awards to schools with significantly improved student performance.
Florida Politics reported that while the Senate has not yet approved this latest House plan, Stargel expressed support in comments to reporters.
Stargel stated that school recognition was what Stargel did to recognize schools for their achievements and how they handled them. “These districts weren’t following the law so they won’t be eligible for these dollars.”