TALLAHASSEE — The Florida House of Representatives today is expected to pass a bill on a party-line vote that creates a new merit pay system for teachers and makes major changes in the way they are hired, fired, evaluated and promoted.
The bill eliminates tenure for teachers and ties future pay increases to students' classroom performance on standardized tests.
SB 736 was discussed at length Tuesday in the House, with Democrats raising a flurry of questions to Rep. Erik Fresen, the Miami Republican who's managing the bill. Republicans, who outnumber Democrats 81 to 39, have more than enough votes to pass the measure, which has already cleared the Senate.
Gov. Rick Scott has pledged to sign the bill, which is similar to the proposal known as SB 6 that former Gov. Charlie Crist vetoed last year.
House Speaker Dean Cannon, R-Winter Park, had blocked out nine hours of floor time for the bill Tuesday to avoid being accused of ramrodding such a major piece of legislation to passage. But Democrats agreed to suspend questions and debate so lawmakers could attend the 56th annual Capitol Press Corps Skits, where the news media lampoons lawmakers and the governor to raise money for journalism scholarships.