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Crist Nixed Six

By Lynn Hatter


Tallahassee, FL – Governor Charlie Crist has vetoed a controversial merit pay bill that would have tied teacher pay to student test scores and eliminated tenure. The Governor's Office has received over 20-thousand phone calls, emails and petitions to support the veto, but as Lynn Hatter reports, it could have political consequences.

Crist's veto of Senate Bill 6 marks the second major piece of Republican backed legislation to get the axe this session. The measure had the backing of the business community and the state department of Education, which said it would help Florida's application for a billion dollars worth of federal education grant money. But its opposition, mostly teachers, said it would kill the profession. In announcing his decision Thursday, Crist said the content of the bill and the way it got to his desk, were flawed.

"This bill has deeply and negatively affected the morale of our teachers, our parents and our students. They are not confident in our system because they do not believe that their voices were heard. They, like I, did not fathom that there would be no opportunity for meaningful deliberation and appropriate changes to this bill."

The governor is currently trailing former House Speaker Marco Rubio in the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate. A recent Quinnipiac poll shows he could squeeze out a victory in a three-way contest if he chose to run as an Independent.