(Times Free Press) -- Gov. Bill Haslam's plan to free local schools from a state-mandated teacher pay schedule that rewards seniority and training is getting a chilly initial reception from the state's largest educators' group.

"We're still looking at how we're going to officially respond, but on the surface, this seems like going totally in the wrong direction," said Jerry Winters, the Tennessee Education Association's lobbyist.

Winters said teachers are "already feeling besieged and demoralized based on what the legislature did to them last year. And now, it seems it's shifting to the governor's office and he's just piling on."

Haslam said Tuesday he wants state lawmakers to "eliminate outdated requirements of state and local salary schedules based strictly on seniority and training and give districts flexibility to set parameters themselves based on what they want to reward."

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