TALLAHASSEE (CBS4) – Florida’s statewide teacher’s union has filed a lawsuit related to the teacher merit pay law passed by the Florida Legislature this year.

The Florida Education Association and the Sarasota Classified/Teachers Association filed the lawsuit Wednesday in Circuit Court in Tallahassee. The union claims the law is unconstitutional because it substantially changed performance evaluations and wages while denying teachers the right to effective collective bargaining on wages and employment conditions.

The new law ties teacher salaries to student performance on tests. It also eliminates longer-term contracts and puts all teachers on one-year contracts.

Gov. Rick Scott signed the merit pay legislation back in March.

Former Gov. Charlie Crist vetoed a similar but more rigid bill last year after widespread protests by teachers.

Republicans say a test-based merit pay plan will help attract and keep top teachers while eliminating tenure which will enable school officials to get rid of the bad ones more quickly. Merit pay and a new teacher evaluation plan that goes along with it won’t go into effect until 2014.

This is the third lawsuit the FEA has spearheaded this year related to new laws passed by the Republican-dominated Legislature.

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.)


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