News In Brief

Tennessee lawmakers OK teacher merit-pay setup

The nation's most comprehensive merit-pay system for teachers has been approved by the legislature here. The General Assembly gave final approval Wednesday to both the Comprehensive Education Reform Act and a penny increase in the state sales tax, from 4.5 to 5. 5 percent.

Gov. Lamar Alexander's signature on the bills is virtually assured, since he helped draft the entire plan of education reform and $351 million in tax increases that went with it.

The act sets up a five-step ''career ladder'' for public school teachers. Those in the three upper categories get pay bonuses ranging from $1,000 to $7, 000 a year.

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