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Teacher benefit cuts offset some school aid losses

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - A new study shows controversial cuts to teachers' benefits in Wisconsin last year offset about two-thirds of the losses in state aid to school districts.

The report by the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance released Monday shows school districts across Wisconsin collectively cut spending on health and pension benefits by about $287 million in the 2011-2012 academic year. That includes benefit cuts from a larger number of retirements and layoffs.

The alliance found the benefit cuts offset about 64 percent of the $451 million decrease in revenue for school districts imposed by Gov. Scott Walker and Republican lawmakers to balance the budget last year.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says the report analyzed budget data from more than 420 Wisconsin school districts collected by the state Department of Public Instruction.

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