TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The legal battle over the state's mandate requiring schools to reopen this month continued Thursday during another hearing.
Florida's largest teacher's union, the Florida Education Association, is suing the state over the emergency order, issued by Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran on July 6. The union believes ordering schools to reopen during a pandemic violates the Florida constitution.
The state, however, wants the suit thrown out. Lawyers representing Governor Ron DeSantis, Corcoran and other education officials are asking the court to dismiss the lawsuit.
On Thursday morning, the judge scheduled hearing on the state's motion to dismiss the lawsuit for Friday at 11 a.m.
The lawsuit centers around whether school districts should be able to decide for themselves if it’s appropriate to reopen schools, which is what Hillsborough County school leaders have done and are now facing heat for that decision.
Corcoran has given the district until Friday to revise their plan or risk losing funding. He made an appearance at the White House on Wednesday as President Trump held a round table with education leaders on reopening schools.
Corcoran touted his emergency order that gives parents and students the ability to choose between online or in-person classes, but that mandates the reopening of brick and mortar schools this month in Florida.
The comments came after he presumably met with Hillsborough Superintendent Addison Davis the day before.
Davis traveled to Tallahassee to try to reach a compromise with state officials after they threatened to withhold about $23 million in funding if Hillsborough moves forward with its decision to begin the first month of classes online.
It’s still unclear if Davis and state officials have reached a compromise, but there’s a big deadline looming: the district has been given until Friday to let the state know what it plans to do.
It's unlikely that the FEA lawsuit will be resolved in time before then or before Hillsborough County schools start on August 24.
The lawsuit was originally filed in Miami, but later transferred to Tallahassee.