The Minnesota Senate has passed legislation to mandate a two-year pay freeze for all public school employees.
Senators voted 36-29 Thursday with one Republican joining Democrats in opposition.
Sen. Dave Thompson, R-Lakeville, said the wage freeze would help stabilize school district budgets and prevent the lay offs of many teachers. Thompson said he views his bill as a one-time intervention that won't need to be repeated.
"In my world we would provide enough independence to the independent school districts and enough control with a different model of how we deliver education that this would not be necessary again," he said.
The bill also prohibits school employees from striking and repeals a Jan. 15 deadline for teacher contract settlements. Opponents argue the bill undermines local control.