- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 23, 2017

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) - Bills to create a uniform teacher contract across the state are set for key committee votes.

Republican Gov. Paul LePage says such an idea would help rural districts compete for teachers.

Bills sponsored by GOP Reps. Matt Pouliot and Jeffrey Timberlake are set for work sessions Tuesday.

Pouliot says his bill would maintain local control while creating a uniform compensation system based upon performance results.

Timberlake says Maine shouldn’t just throw more money at education.

The average teacher’s salary in Maine is about $50,000, compared with the New England average of more than $70,000.

The Maine Education Association’s president says Hawaii is the only state with a statewide teacher contract and claims it doesn’t benefit teachers.

The union president says there’s no guarantee a statewide negotiations process would increase anyone’s salary.

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