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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Use it or lose it



Pickens Gov. Crist's proposal to make the unpopular MAP merit-pay plan more, uh, palatable to teachers will get serious consideration in the state House, Rep. Joe Pickens (left), chairman of the House Education Council, tells The Gradebook.

Last week, Crist unveiled a plan to re-distribute MAP money to participating districts, rather than have that money revert back to the state – an obvious attempt to get more teachers to "voluntarily" sign up (see Gradebook post here). Legislative leaders considered that idea last year, but ultimately decided against it, figuring more districts would take MAP for a spin, said Pickens, R-Palatka.

But they didn't. Only eight of Florida's 67 districts have approved MAP plans (see the list here), which means most of the $147.5 million allocated for the program will go unspent. And that has peeved many lawmakers, who thought they had brokered in good faith with teachers unions only to see them dismiss the performance pay plan out of hand.

Legg "I think you see a little bit of frustration," explained Rep. John Legg (right), vice chairman of the House Education Committee, who also supports the reallocation idea. "When STAR was revised into MAP, there was kind of a verbal agreement that this was a good thing. ... I think they turned it into a political issue and said, 'We're not going to do it now.' They went back on their word."

Pickens said budget realities will temper what happens with MAP, but there is a desire to get more districts involved.

"Obviously, we're not going to spend $147 million that we really don't have over 10 districts," he said. "But I do think that in next year's budget we probably are going to fund the rewards at an amount that is greater than just those 10 districts' pro rate share."

- Ron Matus and Jeff Solochek

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 9:35am]


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