Minn. Senate to vote on school employee salary freeze

Legislation imposing a statewide salary freeze on public school employees is headed to a Minnesota Senate vote.

The Senate Finance Committee advanced the bill Tuesday by a vote of 9 to 4. The proposed two-year freeze would cover all employee groups. Sen. Gen Olson, R-Minnetrista, said the bill would help stabilize financially struggling school districts and charter schools. Olson said a freeze would also keep more teachers employed.

"It's not mean spirited," she said. "It is just meant to try to keep our system rolling and benefit students, too. Because when you cut teachers and other personnel, you end up increasing class sizes, and then the hue and cry is, well, we've got to decrease class sizes."

Opponents say the measure would take away local control with little financial benefit. The bill would also eliminate a January 15 deadline for teacher-contract settlements.

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