LEON COUNTY, Fla. — A judge in Leon County is expected to make a ruling in the case involving a lawsuit filed by the Florida Education Association against the state's emergency order that forces districts to physically reopen public schools five days a week.
Judge Charles Dodson heard closing arguments from both sides on Friday afternoon, following several days of testimony.
- Judge denies motion to dismiss school re-opening lawsuit, case moves forward
- Florida Education Association lawsuit to halt school reopening slowed by venue change
- Emergency motion filed to allow districts to delay opening schools until COVID-19 cases decline
- Florida Education Association files lawsuit against state to stop reopening of in-person classes
In July, education commissioner Richard Corcoran put out an order mandating districts list in-person learning, five days a week as an option for parents during their reopening plans.
The suit filed by the largest teachers union, which now includes the NAACP and the NAACP Florida State Conference, educators and parents, asks to allow local districts to make decisions on reopening plans without the threat of funds being withheld by the state.
"We do not believe the education commissioner has the legal right to compel districts to open campuses for in-person learning without regard to the health and wellbeing of students and staff. The suit seeks to invalidate his emergency order."
↓ Read the full lawsuit below ↓
The order threw a wrench in how Hillsborough County Schools planned to move forward with the 2020-2021 school year. The school board initially announced the first four weeks would be virtual, and Superintendent Addison Davis had to meet with the Department of Education and revised the plan to one week of virtual learning.
Davis also revealed the decision to stick with the original four-week virtual plan could've resulted in the district going bankrupt. Hillsborough County Schools would have incurred a more than $200 million in penalties.
Funding also motivated the Orange County School Board to vote 6-to-2 for a traditional return to school. According to ABC-affiliate WFTV, this went against the district's medical advisory committee recommendation. They reported Orange County's superintendent told the school board the district could get slapped with a $270 million fine.
If you missed closing arguments or any of the other hearings, you can re-watch them here.