DeSantis Walks Back Threat to Slash Salaries of School Officials Who Impose Mask Mandates

The office of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) has confirmed that the governor has walked back his threat to slash the salaries of school officials who impose mask mandates in defiance of his executive order.

His spokesperson said “activist, anti-science school board members” should dock their own salaries if the state imposes financial sanctions on their districts.

“Those officials should own their decision — and that means owning the consequences of their decisions rather than demanding students, teachers, and school staff to foot the bill for their potential grandstanding,” said Christina Pushaw, the governor’s press secretary.

“The issue is that … superintendents and school board members are not state employees. Therefore, the only way the state could tailor the financial penalty would be to withhold an amount of funding equal to their salaries,” she added. “In that event, it is possible that the officials who are violating the law could decide to take funding from other needs in their own district, in order to pay themselves salaries. It wouldn’t be fair to the students, but it would technically be possible.”

DeSantis had earlier threatened to withhold the salaries of officials, saying the State Board of Education could “move to withhold the salary of the district superintendent or school board members as a narrowly tailored means to address the decision-makers who led to the violation of law.”