By Joan Murray

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Miami-Dade County Public Schools face a decision, reverse the mask mandate or face similar financial sanctions from the state like their neighbors in Broward.

CBS4’s Joan Murray spoke to the superintendent Alberto Carvalho.

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CBS4 got a copy of the letter the superintendent sent along with the school board chair.

In it, they say the school district has a compelling interest to control a deadly communicable disease, but it appears neither of the state education commissioner nor Governor Ron DeSantis is backing down.

“We absolutely made the deadline,” said Carvalho. They have sent a letter to the education commissioner explaining why they issued a mask mandate for schools and ignored a state order to make masks optional.

“We believe that the actions of this board comply with both the constitutional provisions as well as state statute,” said Carvalho. “I guarantee — by guaranteeing a safe, secure and healthy environment for both our students as well as the workforce.”

The education commissioner has told Miami-Dade school board members they face losing their salaries much like is happening in Broward.

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Miami-Dade school board vice-chair Dr. Steve Gallon says they are ready to fight, “When you juxtapose a financial penalty versus your obligation under the constitution of the United States and, quite frankly, your obligation as a member of humanity and one that has certain concern, compassion and commitment to children, that is a non-negotiable for us.”

On top of that, even though judge ruled Friday in a lawsuit brought by the pro-mask parents, it is legal for school districts to make masks mandatory, the order hasn’t been filed yet, so it has had no impact and Governor DeSantis is promising a challenge.

State Attorney general Ashley Moody issued a statement this afternoon certainly agreeing with the governor saying any district that has a masker mandate is basically breaking the law.

So, there is a long way ahead in this legal battle.

Meanwhile, Miami-Dade and Broward have both said that periodically they are going to take up the masker issue again.

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If the numbers start going down, they may consider modifying the mask mandate in both of these school districts.