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(Salt Lake City-AP) -- A bill that would sidestep union bargaining for Utah teachers' salaries narrowly passed a House committee today.
Local teacher unions currently negotiate contracts with the state's school boards. The bill, sponsored by Representative Jim Ferrin, would maintain collective bargaining, but would give school boards the authority to negotiate some contracts individually.
A similar measure failed last year.
Ferrin says the bill would allow districts to keep qualified teachers who need more money to stay in the profession.
Those who oppose the bill say it will lead to morale problems -- and possible lawsuits -- from teachers who aren't getting paid as much as their peers.
Union contracts usually set up a standard pay-scale based on experience and education -- critics say this bill could lead to favoritism for board members' friends and relatives.
(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)