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BOISE -- Senators supported giving Idaho school districts more flexibility to cut teacher pay during economic hard times.

The chamber voted 21-14 for the measure, one of several bills from the Idaho School Boards Association.

Sen. Jim Patrick of Twin Falls said he was confident school districts wouldn't cut salaries unnecessarily, over objections from foes who say it tips the balance of power of who gets to decide what teachers earn.

The measure now goes to the House.

But one bill that isn't going to come to a vote is another ISBA-supported measure, giving school boards power to impose a last, best offer if contract talks stall.

Sen. John Goedde, Education Committee chairman, was asked by the group to withdraw the bill.

The Idaho Education Association teachers union strongly objected to it.

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