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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Crist signs teacher bonus plan into law



Invoking the name of his fifth grade teacher at Bay Vista Elementary in St. Petersburg, Gov. Charlie Crist on Thursday signed into law the new teacher bonus plan that replaces the controversial one passed last year under former Gov. Jeb Bush.

"We're going to pay teachers more," said Crist, beaming as he addressed the packed Cabinet room filled with lawmakers, teachers and education lobbyists. "And we're going to do it in a way that's different from last year. That's important."

The bonuses would go to the "top" teachers and administrators in each participating school district, and would be between 5 and 10 percent of the average district teacher pay. An educator's evaluation would be based at least 60 percent on students' work on tests such as FCAT or a locally created test, and up to 40 percent on performance such as maintaining classroom discipline.

There's $147.5-million in this year's budget for the program, but Crist wants to double that next year. The Senate budget keeps the budget at $147.5-million, and the House proposes spending about $200-million.

Read more in Friday's St. Petersburg Times.

[Last modified: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 1:40pm]


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