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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Behind the scenes talks will result in similar teacher tenure bills in the Florida House, Senate



As the Florida Senate has worked through its version of teacher tenure reform, some in the teacher union ranks have held out hope that the Florida House would come out with a proposal on a more favorable track.

Others have guessed that the Senate bill would become the House bill.

Both are a little bit right.

House Pre-K-12 Policy chairman John Legg tells the Gradebook that when his committee companion bill is published later this afternoon, "most of the language that you see in the Senate is what you will see in the House."

But that's only after weeks of wrangling behind the scenes.

House members had "significant concerns" about the Senate provision to impose taxes on school districts that failed to comply with the merit pay rules, for instance. The Senate jettisoned that piece.

The House also wanted the Senate to change the end-of-course provisions in the tenure bill so they did not conflict with HB 7053 / SB 4, which looks to change high school assessments. The Senate complied.

With many of the key differences resolved, Legg said, the House leadership has a bill it feels comfortable using as a starting point for additional debate. He expected the changes to contracts, evaluations, pay and more to make it to the governor's desk, as the Senate -- not the House -- has proven the stumbling block to such changes in past years.

And he didn't expect the Democrats or the teachers unions to join in the support.

"In terms of the philosophical concept, we know they'll never buy into this," Legg said.

The House Pre-K-12 Policy Committee is scheduled to take up the issue on Thursday.

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 10:54am]


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