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Teacher pay efforts defeated

By Dave Thompson

Bismarck, ND – Senate Democrats tried again to revive Governor Hoeven's teacher pay plan.

But they failed.

The Hoeven plan would have given each teacher $500 in the first year of the biennium and $1000 in the second year. That's over and above the three-thousand dollars teachers received over the past two years.

The Senate voted to put the money in the state's general financial aid to schools.

Grand Forks Senator Linda Christianson offered a floor amendment to try and restore the teacher pay. Christianson told the Senate that, for the teachers, it's a matter of trust.

"They have to be able to trust that their economic well-being is being looked after," said Christianson. "That who and what they contribute to the society is valued. If we betray that trust by taking away the raises, we are betraying a trust that we cannot afford to lose."

Underwood Senator Layton Freborg says it's more of a philosophical argument. "I don't know that any of us disagree with the fact that teachers need a raise. A lot of us believe that the decision should rest with the elected school board members of each individual school district."

The Senate - approved spending plan does raise the statewide minimum pay for teachers.

The House will now consider the full education budget.