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School districts sue the FLA Department of Health; Redistricting

Florida's historic State Capitol is in the foreground with the State Capitol tower in the background.
MICHAEL RIVERA / WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
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Six school districts across Florida filed a legal challenge this week against the Florida Department of Health.

In their complaint, the districts say that school boards, not the state health agency, have the power to decide how to stop the spread of COVID-19 in classrooms.

Also this week, the state Board of Education gave more than a half-dozen districts two days to repeal their student mask requirements or risk being fined. Eight times during Thursday’s meeting, Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran said the districts, which include some of the largest in the state, were not following the law.

Miami-Dade Superintendent Alberto Carvalho asked the state board Thursday to delay taking action against the district until the end of the month. He said he hopes COVID-19 conditions will have improved enough by then to relax restrictions in schools.

The U.S. Department of Education has reimbursed both the Broward and Alachua county school districts for state funding that’s already been withheld because of the fight over masks; however, the state wants to hold back any amount of money a district receives in those federal grants.

Guests:

Redistricting

Due to its growing population, Florida will have one more seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Fort Myers Republican state Sen. Ray Rodrigues is in charge of the Senate Reapportionment Committee, responsible for redrawing district lines to create a new congressional district. The new political boundaries could mean a shift in control in Tallahassee, Capitol Hil, and new outcomes of the Electoral College vote for president in years to come.

A joint House-Senate website launched Sept. 21 to give the public a chance to participate directly in the once-in-a-decade process of drawing the state’s election maps. The website is part of an effort to make the redistricting and reapportionment process transparent.

Guests:

Florida Roundup Associate Producer Katherine Hobbs can be reached at khobbs@wjct.org or on Twitter at @KatherineGHobbs.

Katherine Hobbs joined WJCT as an associate producer of talk shows following her internship.