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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Florida lawmakers propose killing Merit Award Program



Back in 2007, Florida lawmakers celebrated the creation of the Merit Award Program to recognize high performing school teachers throughout the state.

Four years later, the Legislature is looking to repeal the program as obsolete, particularly with the passage of SB 736, which went to the governor's desk late Monday. Only three districts -- Hillsborough, Duval and Gilchrist -- are participating, prompting some in Tallahassee to propose moving the money into other areas.

Thing is, Hillsborough had planned to use its share of nearly $10 million toward its matching funds for its Gates Foundation grant in support of new teaching evaluations. Hillsborough officials knew the end of MAP was near, especially with the adoption of new performance pay rules. But SB 736 doesn't take full effect for three years, while MAP would expire sooner.

They're looking into the budget implications if this Proposed Committee Bill moves.

The bill also includes a repeal of a law that makes it a misdemeanor to claim you have a college degree you don't have. House staff say the law was found unconstitutional nearly a decade ago, but it remains on the books. It along with several other programs deemed illegal, never funded or considered obsolete appear in the legislation, which makes its first committee stop this afternoon. 

[Last modified: Tuesday, March 22, 2011 10:54am]


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