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Teacher's union takes merit pay challenge to court

The state teacher’s union says the Florida Department of Education and State Board of Education exceeded their authority in setting out rules for districts to follow in crafting new teacher evaluations used to determine who gets merit pay bonuses.The union took its case to an administrative law judge Wednesday.

“The challenge is that they have exceeded the authority they were delegated," said attorney Tony Demma, who represents the Florida Education Association and two teachers in the case.

The Florida Board of Education and state Department of Education handed down a list of 13 requirements for districts to follow in crafting new teacher evaluation plans, but Demma said those rules are vague and don’t comply with state law.

But the state argues it’s within its rights to make suggestions for district’s to follow.

If the union wins, school districts would get a little more flexibility in crafting teacher evaluations. Those reviews would be used to determine who gets merit pay, and whether teachers are doing a good job in the classroom. The judge did not say when he would rule.