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Published February 10, 2011, 04:28 PM

Senate Approves Pay Freeze for Minnesota Schools

The Minnesota Senate has approved a two-year pay freeze for employees in Minnesota public and charter schools.

By: Associated Press,

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The Minnesota Senate has approved a two-year pay freeze for employees in Minnesota public and charter schools.

The bill's sponsor, Sen. Dave Thompson, says that without the freeze, districts would be forced to lay off some teachers so they could afford to pay the raises for the rest. It does not apply to current contracts.

The Lakeville Republican's bill also repeals an annual Jan. 15 deadline for when a school district must reach a collective bargaining agreement with its teachers, or face heavy fines.

The Senate approved the bill 36-29 on Thursday. A companion bill is moving through the House.

The bill prohibits school employees from striking over the freeze. The state teachers union, Education Minnesota, opposed the bill, saying districts should negotiate their contracts without state intervention.

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