ST. PAUL  (AP) -- The Minnesota Senate Education Committee will hear testimony Tuesday for the first time on a proposed statewide freeze on pay for teachers in public and charter schools.

Sen. Dave Thompson, a Republican from Lakeville, is proposing to freeze teacher pay for two years, including costs-of-living adjustments and rewards for experience and additional schooling.

He says the proposal would help school districts manage their costs and at a time of tight budgets, but critics says it's an improper state intrusion into a local district's business.

The bill exempts alternative pay programs, like Q comp, which link teacher pay to student performance. It also would not affect contracts that are currently in place.

The bill also prohibits unions from striking over the salary freeze. The state teachers union plans to testify.

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