SB6 and Retirement

SB 6 - an outright assault on public education

SB 6 would have stripped teachers of all due process and most of the rights provided by collective bargaining agreements.  Almost certainly, non-instructional personnel would been next.

Senate Bill 6 would:

  • Require that all teachers will be retained, certified and compensated based on student test scores -- not years of experience or degrees held.
  • Penalize school districts that even consider length of service or degrees held when determining compensation or reductions in force.
  • Mandate that teachers be issued probationary contracts for up to five years; then an annual contract every year after that ... eliminating professional service contracts.
  • Increase testing for students (end of course exams for all subjects) and for teachers (additional certification requirements)

These provisions would have had significant impact on students, teachers, ESPs and the ability to recruit and retain teachers.

On Salary:

  • 50% of a teacher’s evaluation must be based on student learning gains, as established in rule by DOE. This will make it more difficult to recruit and retain teachers for schools where students struggle with standardized tests.
  • The salary schedule would not be subject to collective bargaining and the state will decide what categories of differentiated pay will be provided for. Length of service and degrees cannot be used in salary schedules. The Florida Constitution provides for salary, benefits and working conditions to be negotiated on the local level, not imposed by the state.
  • Require that all teachers will be retained, certified and compensated based on student test scores -- not years of experience or degrees held. Knowledge and experience are suddenly unimportant in the classroom?
  • This bill creates the fourth legislatively mandated attempt to force districts and unions to create a performance based pay system within the last four years. The legislation was created without considering why the other plans were not successful and what best practices and challenges can be learned from those unions and districts that were successful in developing and implementing an alternative pay for performance system.
  • Beginning in 2011-2012, the state would hold back 5% of each district’s funding and use it to develop hundreds of new FCAT style tests…then the hold back will be used to pay for the state’s $900 million ‘performance fund.’


On Contracts:

  • Probationary contracts are issued for up to five years, after which a teacher could get an annual contract if they are rated effective or highly effective, which will be defined by the DOE, not the school district. The state will have a much greater hand in appraisals.
  • Teacher evaluations are a critical component needed to increase student learning and ensure a high quality teacher in every Florida classroom. Florida is progressively moving towards having clearer, more coherent standards and a rich curriculum, but instruction is also becoming more and more scripted because of federal and state mandates which subtract from innovation and rigorous instruction. To support and/or identify low performing, mediocre, and high performing teachers we must have support systems that includes ongoing, job embedded professional development in place.

On other issues:

  • More testing for students (end of course for all subjects) and for teachers (certification and recertification).
  • The bill would abolish the Dale Hickam Excellent Teacher program.
  • Removes some programs that encourage diversity within the teaching profession.
  • And much more.



An attempted raid on retirement benefits

Also during the 2010 Session, there were 30+ bills introduced that would have modified the Florida Retirement System.  These changes were sparked by reports of  a potential $15.4 billion shortfall in future payments.  FRS modifications proposed by these 30+ bills included changing the average final compensation for pension calculations from the average of highest 5 years to lifetime career average, increasing the number of years and age to qualify for retirement, increasing the number of years and age to vest, restricting the use of overtime and accumulated leave in pension calculations, requiring an employee contribution to FRS, eliminating the Health Insurance Subsidy (HIS) for FRS retirees as well as other reductions in FRS retirement benefits. 


FEA members sent thousands of emails and phone calls to legislators voicing their opposition to any changes in FRS benefits.  As a result, the proposed changes to FRS benefits failed to be included in the final legislation…but there is always next year.

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