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Senate Bill 6 Veto

April 15th, 2010 by Mike Vasilinda

Florida teachers are breathing easier tonight. After a massive email, letter and phone campaign from teachers, parents and students, Governor Charlie Crist has vetoed legislation that would have instituted a merit pay plan while abolishing tenure. As Mike Vasilinda tells us, the Governor found fault with not only the legislation but the process that was used.

Governor Charlie Crist made his decision Wednesday night but waited until noon Thursday to announce it. He was quick and to the point.

I vetoed Senate Bill 6 because this bill is contrary to my firmly held principle to act in the best interest of the people of Florida, Crist said.

And then he reiterated what he had been saying all week. There is no provision for measuring teachers of special needs children.

There must be more consideration given to their individual needs, he said.

He also worried about what the teachers union has called the Tallahassee Takeover.

There are considerable directives given to local boards and a requirement for state sign-off before the plans can even be approved, Crist said.

He discounted promises of fixing the bad points later.

Such assertions are not enough for me to sign this legislation today, Crist said.

He also disliked the way lawmakers refused to listen to parents or teachers.

Quite frankly it reminds me of what happened with the health care bill in Washington, where members of my party criticized the Democrats for sort of jamming something down their throat, Crist said.

Finally, when asked, he reiterated his decision was not political.

It has everything to do with the children of Florida, Crist said. I know in my heart its the right thing to do, Michael. This thing was rushed through.

The veto effectively ends the battle for this year.

The Governor also said he will create a task force which will include parents, teachers, lawmakers and others to reapply for Race to the Top Money from the Federal government. Floridas application was denied in part because teachers had not been allowed to weigh in with their ideas.

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