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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Call it an unexpected tiff



Gaetz Yeckecolor2005Some education observers were stunned last month when state Sen. Don Gaetz, the new chairman of the Senate Education Pre-K-12 Committee, lit into K-12 Chancellor Cheri Yecke over the state’s new performance-pay plan for teachers.

But recent letters indicate the cool reception wasn't an anomaly.

After the hearing, Gaetz, a Panhandle Republican and former Okaloosa County superintendent, asked Yecke in writing to clarify a few things about the Special Teachers Are Rewarded plan.

When he didn't hear back, he penned a curt missive last week that ends, "Unless you advise me otherwise, I must reluctantly conclude that the Department’s unresponsiveness is an indication that legislative action is needed."


Three days later, Yecke offered a 7-page response.

Area teachers took note. Lynne Webb, president of the United School Employees of Pasco, used the letters to highlight just how gut-wrenching the STAR debate has become to teachers. One Pasco teacher told Webb the performance pay issue is killing morale. Another said it made teaching seem like selling cars.

"I just thought it was important to share that with you, as we are in the process of negotiating a STAR plan that neither the district nor the union is comfortable with," Webb told the Pasco School Board.

- Ron Matus and Jeff Solochek

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 9:14am]


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