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      Alabama Senate approves 2 percent raise for teachers

      The Alabama Senate has approved an education budget. It spends more on schools next year, expands Alabama's pre-kindergarten program, and includes a 2 percent raise for K-12 employees. The Senate voted 22-11, with support coming from Republicans and opposition from Democrats who wanted a bigger raise.

      The 2 percent raise for K-12 employees is their first since October 2007. The $5.8 billion budget would provide a 3.6 percent increase in spending after several years of recession, and it would provide an extra $9.4 million to expand Alabama's voluntary pre-K program for 4-year-olds.

      The Senate still must pass a separate bill to make the raise official. The budget now goes back to the House.