House OK’s teacher pay rewriteby John Kennedy | March 16th, 2011
House members wrangled for hours Wednesday before the powerful Republican majority drove through legislation revamping how Florida teachers are paid, defying union officials who now may renew their fight in court.
The 80-39 vote divided strictly along party lines — with Democrats on the losing end.
“This is unquestionably a footprint in the sand moment,” said House sponsor Erik Fresen, R-Miami. “You will regret this 20 years from now if you vote against it.”
But Democrats argued fiercely against the measure (CS/SB 736) which now goes to Republican Gov. Rick Scott, who is expected to sign it into law.
Democrats blistered the proposal for outlining a merit-pay plan for teachers, but not providing any money for the new system. They also warned that with student performance key to teacher salaries, county school boards will have to divert dwindling school dollars toward more testing.
“This is the mother of all unfunded mandates,” said Rep. Scott Randolph, D-Orlando.