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Teacher retirement devides House, Senate

AUGUSTA (AP) — The Maine House and Senate are divided over a bill that would shift the full burden for teacher retirement costs onto the state.

The Republican-led Senate voted 18-17 on Wednesday to reject Democratic Rep. Walter Kumiega’s proposal. The Democratic- controlled House supported the measure with a 119-27 vote last week.

The measure would reverse a 2013 decision to have local communities pay a portion of teacher retirement costs.

The Maine Municipal Association says the costs for cities and towns are projected to increase from $30 million to $37 million next fiscal year.

Republican Gov. Paul LePage’s administration opposes the bill. The Maine Department of Education told lawmakers last month that teacher retirement costs should remain a local responsibility.

The bill faces additional House and Senate votes.

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