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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Surprise for National Board-certified teachers



Word already was on the streets that Florida lawmakers planned to eliminate the mentoring bonus that National Board-certified teachers could get, as one of many budget cutting measures. A bill that some contended would gut the entire bonus program caught many off guard.

SB 1746, which passed the Senate Pre-K-12 Education Appropriations Committee this morning, would end the state's payment of 90 percent of teachers' applications to the program and the $150 payment for portfolio preparation. The state would stop paying into the Florida retirement system for the incentive. And it would allow National Board-certified teachers to receive the bonuses for only 10 years.

FEA lobbyist Marshall Ogletree told the committee that the proposal, which was inserted into a shell bill late last week, needed to undergo a thorough policy discussion - it didn't go to the Pre-K-12 Education Committee - and not just emerge as part of a budget-cutting exercise.

Power lobbyist Mac Stipanovich, who just happens to work for the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, said he was "stunned ... beyond surprise" by the proposal, which he contended would choke off the successful 10-year-old program.

"It has worked," Stipanovich told the committee. "I'm not asking your for another dollar now. I'm asking you not to destroy the program."

Chairman Stephen Wise explained that he had nothing against bonuses. "But do you have to pay for everything, and have the richest program in the country, when we're in the position that we're in right now?" he wondered.

Still, Wise relented to the criticism and said he would work with the lobbyists into the evening to see if they might resolve the concerns.

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 9:38am]


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