Good for them!
Courtesy of the Tampa Bay Times:
Leon County Circuit Judge Charles Dodson ruled in favor of Florida’s statewide teachers union Monday, saying Department of Education officials “essentially ignored the requirement of school safety” when they ordered campuses to reopen for face-to-face classes this month.
Dodson also found that the department’s order, issued July 6, trampled on school boards’ constitutional authority to operate their own school systems.
“The districts have no meaningful alternative,” Dodson wrote. “If an individual school district chooses safety, that is, delaying the start of schools until it individually determines it is safe to do so for its county, it risks losing state funding, even though every student is being taught.”
Taryn Fenske, a spokeswoman for the Department of Education, said the state had filed its appeal before the close of business Monday. Education commissioner Richard Corcoran said he was “100 percent confident” the state will win.
The lawsuit was filed by the Florida Education Association, a labor organization representing about 145,000 teachers across the state.
The lawsuit is really trying to have the financial burden lifted for schools that stay online only.
However, this Corcoran guy is kind of a dick:
Through questioning during Friday’s closing arguments, (Judge) Dodson hinted that he was interested in a solution that did not have school districts facing a monetary hit for taking actions that they deemed in the best safety interest of their students and staff.
“An injunction in this case will allow local school boards to make safety determinations for the reopening of schools without financial penalty,” he wrote. “This is what the local school boards were elected to do.”
He ruled that the order would become constitutional if the unconstitutional portions were deleted, as the plaintiffs’ lawyers argued during their closing comments. So he struck out the order language relating to a required date to begin in-person classes, mandatory reopening plans and provisions that in recent weeks have tied districts’ reopening decisions to state funding.
The judge used Hillsborough County’s experience as a primary example in the case. The Hillsborough School Board voted 5-2 to delay reopening its classrooms by four weeks, relying on the advice of several local health experts.
When informed of that move, Corcoran deemed the district’s action as violating the reopening order and warned officials they could lose up to $23 million monthly if they did not make changes. After trying to reach a compromise, the district changed direction without a School Board vote and announced it would reopen campuses Aug. 31 — three weeks earlier than planned.
So despite winning a lawsuit to protect themselves and their students, it appears these teachers will be forced into a dangerous environment where some of them are sure to get sick, and possibly die.
And Florida wonders why it is currently in the number three position for the most Coronavirus cases in the United States.