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SB 6 Lobbying Intense

April 13th, 2010 by Mike Vasilinda

The full court press is on in the halls of the state capitol to convince the Governor to either sign or veto controversial legislation abolishing teacher tenure and creating merit pay. Governor Charlie Crist is at the center of the efforts by both sides, and as Mike Vasilinda tells us, he appears to be leaning toward a veto.

Pockets of teachers from across the state walked Capitol hallways, delivering petitions asking the Governor to veto Senate Bill Six. Crist met with them briefly.

“You have no incentive to go on to get advanced degrees, a master’s or a doctorate, because that won’t be measured as part of your performance,” teacher Lynn Janasiewicz said. “So it just really demoralizes us as teachers.”

Feeling the pressure, the state’s largest business groups called on the governor to stand with them and sign Senate Bill Six.

“We know there has been some vocal opposition to the legislation,” Marshall Criser III, with the Council of 100, said. “We want to get the governor to know that education leaders, teachers, and business leaders also support him and this bill.”

With poster-sized emails from teachers at her side, a senior advisor to former Governor Jeb Bush says most teachers are misinformed.

“Commissioner Smith, I believe, one of his teacher liaisons put out information to all the teachers in the state, to clarify what’s in the bill,” Patricia Levesque, with the Foundation for Florida’s Future, said. “And she’s gotten very positive responses because they weren’t getting accurate information.”

Two top education officials advertised as attending the business press conference didn’t show.

The Governor continues to say he hasn’t made up his mind, but continues to say he has concerns.

“I don’t think I’ve ever been lobbied this hard,” Crist said.

The governor also acknowledged that former Governor Jeb Bush left a voice mail, asking him to sign the legislation.

Crist has until Midnight Friday to act on the legislation

Posted in Charlie Crist, Children, Economy, Education, Legislature, State Budget, State News | No Comments »

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