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Senate would mandate teacher pay boost to resolve shortage

llinois lawmakers want to fix the state’s teacher shortage by forcing local school boards to pay teachers at least $40,000 a year.

illinoiscapitolThe bill would require schools to pay every educator an annual wage of at least $40,000 by the 2022-23 school year. Starting next year, the minimum salary would be $32,076. After starting salaries hit $40,000 in the 2022-23 school year, the minimum salary rate would continue to increase yearly at the rate of inflation, as measured by the Consumer Price Index. The annual increases the 2022-23 school year would be subject to review by the General Assembly.

While it wouldn’t affect many Chicago and suburban Chicago school districts, many in southern Illinois would have to increase pay for teachers.
According to the Illinois State Board of Education, more than 500 schools would have to increase their beginning pay for teachers with a bachelor’s degree, some by more than $10,000 over the next four years.

Sen. Andy Manar, D-Bunker Hill, said the state’s new education funding formula signed into law last fall would send those schools more money. He said this would guarantee that it goes to teacher paychecks.

“This will reinforce the need to continue down the path toward greater equity,” he said. “It would work together nicely with the work that we’ve done on evidence-based funding.”

Republicans, including Sen. Dale Righter, R-Mattoon, said this would be a massive unfunded mandate for rural schools.

“If you are looking for the unfunded mandate of all unfunded mandates, it is before you today,” he said.

Sen. Jason Barickman, the GOP’s leader in education matters, said the new school funding formula wouldn’t cover the difference in the teacher raises, resulting in bigger deficits at a local level.

“One school district is going to have a negative $900,000 impact over four years as a result of this bill,” he said.

The House narrowly approved a similar bill last month. They’ll now have to vote on this one for it to be sent to Gov. Bruce Rauner.

Illinois has not updated its minimum mandated salary for teachers since 1980. For 38 years, state statute has required Illinois school districts to pay teachers a minimum salary of about $10,000. Based on decades of inflation, the minimum mandated salary should be about $32,000.

– The Illinois News Network


In a separate press release, Manar, the Senate sponsor of the plan, posed the question, “Is a full-time teacher worth $32,000 a year?” His own response is “an emphatic yes.”

Under the measure, the state would update the minimum mandated salary for teachers annually for the next four years. After that, subject to review by the General Assembly, it would be increased according to the Consumer Price Index. The phase-in looks like this under the proposal:

• $32,076 minimum for the 2019-2020 school year
• $34,576 minimum for the 2020-2021 school year
• $37,076 minimum for the 2021-2022 school year
• $40,000 minimum for the 2022-2023 school year

“There are teachers in the Senate district I represent who live below the federal poverty level today – that’s a fact, and it’s happening all over Illinois. Yet we continue to ask teachers to do more with less, to cure the ills of society and to give away more of the pensions they’ve earned,” Manar said.

“We have chipped away at this over time, and if we don’t guarantee a decent salary for college graduates, we’re not going to get young people to go into this profession in the first place.”

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