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BOISE -- A bill ending a retirement incentives program for teachers has cleared a committee and is headed to the Senate floor.

The Senate Education committee voted 6-2 on Tuesday on a bill to eliminate early retirement benefits for teachers nearing the end of their career.

That program was dumped under the 2011 Students Come First laws, but reinstated when voters repealed those measures in November.

Competing data on the benefits of the early retirement incentive dominated the committee's debate.

Boise Republican Sen. Cliff Bayer said the program is intended to save the state money, but data shows many teachers retire early regardless of the extra benefits.

Idaho Education Association Executive Director Robin Nettinga said veteran teachers frequently use the program. She said it also gives younger, lower-salaried teachers more job opportunities.

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