- Associated Press - Friday, May 5, 2017

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) - A teacher’s union says it would rather boost salaries than create the statewide teacher contract that Republican Gov. Paul LePage is pushing.

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

LePage in his weekly radio address called a proposal to raise the minimum annual salary for teachers to $40,000 a “gimmick.”

He said some districts are failing to reach the current $30,000 salary.

LePage and Republican Rep. Matthew Pouliot say a statewide contract would help rural districts compete with wealthier communities.

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

The union president noted even under a statewide contract, richer school districts could still pay teachers more.

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