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Florida Education Association files lawsuit, says teacher tenure bill is unconstitutional

The Florida Education Association filed a lawsuit on Wednesday challenging the constitutionality of SB 736, the bill that ties teacher pay to student test scores, among other changes.

The law is unconstitutional, the teachers' union said, because it denies teachers of collective bargaining rights for wages and terms of employment conditions that they are entitled to under Florida's Constitution.

"This sweeping change totally changed the teaching profession in Florida," FEA President Andy Ford said. "And the Legislature did it while ignoring repeated calls by FEA and others for a more collaborative approach that sought buy-in from educators and a sincere effort at a compromise."

The lawsuit, filed in Leon County Circuit Court, names as defendants Education Commissioner Gerard Robinson, the Board of Education and State of Florida, and the Department of Education.

Six state teachers are listed as plaintiffs, including one from Pinellas County, Carolyn Lofton. Lofton teaches kindergarten at Skycrest Elementary School and is a member of the Pinellas Classroom Teachers Association.

Read the lawsuit here.