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House ed committee chairman says he'll kill college tenure bill

A House plan to end tenure in state colleges could be dead.

Rep. Bill Proctor, a St. Augustine Republican who heads up the House's education committee, asked college presidents at their meeting this morning what they thought of the bill that would end multi-year contracts for full-time faculty at the state's community colleges. The bill popped up two weeks ago soon after the legislature passed an overhaul of teacher tenure in public schools.

"I've got it on the agenda," he said, "or I can kill it." But he wanted to know what they thought.

Dr. Eileen Holden, chairwoman of the Council of Presidents, told Proctor that the group's steering committee opposed the bill.

"Very good," said Proctor.

Proctor said outside the meeting that he had been surprised by the bill's appearance two weeks ago. He said he considers the matter over "unless I get instructions to run it."

The bill was pushed by Rep. Erik Fresen, chairman of the K-20 Competitiveness committee. He has said the bill is a result of conversations he'd had with unnamed college presidents who felt "handcuffed" by requirements of contracts. Critics said ending tenure for college faculty would put the state at a hiring disadvantage. The bill had passed out of the K-20 Competiveness panel on a party-line vote.