Teachers & State Take to Court Over 'Pay for Performance' Law

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Tallahassee, FL - A Florida law that changed how teachers get paid is now being disputed in court.

Teachers say the Student Success law unconstitutionally strips teachers of their ability to negotiate pay.

When Governor Scott signed this law that pays teachers based on student performance he said it was designed to recruit and retain the best educators in the state.

A teacher's pay would be based on yearly performance ratings. But the Florida Education association is saying not so fast. The union says that Florida's constitution guarantee's public employees the right to collective bargaining, which they say this law strips. But the state says "hey, you signed on for this."

Michael Mattimore, Florida D.O.E. Attorney, stated, "what they did was they negotiated contracts, they signed them, they put them up for ratification, they obtained ratifications, and now they're bound by them, and they have the elements of this law in it."

Circuit Judge John Cooper says he isn't sure what he will rule yet and has asked both sides for a write-up of what they want done.

Regardless of his decision it is expected to be appealed. So it looks like the issue of merit pay wont' be decided anytime soon.

Tallahassee, FL - Florida's school teachers got a chance to make their case in front of a judge, disputing how they get paid..

Governor Rick Scott's first bill signed into law stated Florida's teachers pay will be determined by student performance.

Attorneys for Florida's teachers and the state department of education went back and forth for 2 hours this afternoon.

The Florida education association says that the changes the law made, including annual ratings from school districts base on student performance, are unconstitutional. Newly hired teachers or teachers that switch districts essentially enter into one year contracts, eliminating tenure and job security.

Tom Brooks, Florida Education Association Attorney, stated, "the key in whether he decides to follow the existing supreme court that we think clearly requires the legislature to accommodate collective bargaining rather than ignore it."

Associated Press Release

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- A judge is holding a hearing to decide on a union challenge to Florida's new law setting up a merit pay system for teachers and ending tenure for new hires.

Lawyers for the Florida Education Association and the state Department of Education are making their arguments Wednesday to Circuit Judge John Cooper in Tallahassee.

Cooper's decision is expected to be appealed regardless of what he decides.

The union contends the law is unconstitutional because it substantially changes the way teachers are paid and evaluated without going through collective bargaining.

The Florida Constitution guarantees public employees the right to collective bargaining.

The state denies that the law violates that right, arguing that teachers are still free to negotiate with employers over wages, hours and working conditions.

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