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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Item by item, Florida lawmakers target teacher contract issues



Most of the attention goes to the "teacher quality" bills moving through the Florida House and Senate. Proposals to change pensions for state employees including teachers come in a close second.

But there's more.

We noted two weeks ago Sen. John Thrasher's bill that would ban school districts from using payroll to take union dues deductions. And now there's a proposal by Sanford Republican Rep. Jason Brodeur to eliminate the requirement that school districts recognize and accept prior years of public school teaching in Florida when setting newly hired teachers' pay rates.

This rule has gone through many iterations over the past several years. At one point, districts had to pay all teachers for all their relevant years of experience, regardless of what state it was in. But that was when times were flush and the competition for classroom teachers was fierce.

Now budgets are tight, and lawmakers here and elsewhere are trying to make clear that they don't think pay should be tied to length of service as much as to results. Since collective bargaining is protected in the Florida constitution, lawmakers have started looking at ways to curtail its benefits through legislation instead.

Observers note that the timing of the adoption of such measures will make a big difference as to whether they'll actually have any effect on the 2011-12 hiring and budget cycle. Odds are high for quick action come March.

[Last modified: Wednesday, February 23, 2011 10:39am]


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