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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The Illinois Senate has approved raising public school teacher salaries to a minimum of $40,000 a year.

The Senate voted 37-16 Thursday to increase minimum full-time teacher salaries over the next five years. Democratic Sen. Andy Manar of Bunker Hill is the sponsor. He says the measure is a way to attract more teachers in a state that’s facing a growing shortage.

But Sen. Kyle McCarter says the state can’t afford to pay increased pension costs associated with a pay raise. The Republican from Lebanon in southern Illinois adds that the state is billions of dollars in debt and shouldn’t be making promises it can’t keep.

The legislation comes as teachers in states across the country are striking for higher wages among other issues.

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The bill is SB2892 .