Proposal to increase minimum teacher salary signed into law

SPRINGFIELD – Teachers will see an increase to their minimum salary under a new law sponsored by state Sen. Andy Manar, D-Bunker Hill, and state Rep. Katie Stuart, D-Edwardsville, and signed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker.

“We’re facing a severe teacher shortage in Illinois and increasing their salaries is just one way we can attract and retain qualified teachers in this state,” Manar said. “We need to start taking this problem seriously and this legislation is a good step toward solving it.”

House Bill 2078 will increase the minimum salary for teachers to $40,000 over a four year period.

Illinois had not updated its minimum teacher salary since 1980. Since that time, state statute has mandated that that Illinois school districts pay teachers with a bachelor’s degree a minimum of only $10,000.

“This is a long-needed change and I’m glad to see that both sides of the aisle came forward to support this legislation,” Manar said. “We’re showing that we value teachers in Illinois and that’s going to go a long way toward attracting qualified teachers in Illinois and convincing young people to consider a career in education.”

Under the measure, the state would update the minimum mandated salary for teachers annually over four years, beginning with the 2020-2021 school year. After that, subject to review by the General Assembly, it would be increased according to the Consumer Price Index. The phase-in would look like this under the proposal:

  • $32,076 for the 2020-2021 school year;
  • $34,576 for the 2021-2022 school year;
  • $37,076 for the 2022-2023 school year; and
  • $40,000 for the 2023-2024 school year;

The measure will go into effect Jan. 1, 2020.

“Time and time again, I hear that teaching is one of the most important professions in our state, but we have not seen that reflected in how teachers are paid. By establishing a new minimum salary for teachers, we are ensuring that teachers know they are valued here in the state of Illinois,” said Stuart. “Over the past few years, we have seen a teacher shortage emerge across the state. Last school year, around 1,400 positions for teachers remained open. Establishing a new minimum salary for teachers will help to fill some of those open positions and shows that Illinois has gotten on the right track to invest in our educators and our education system.”

“This $40,000 minimum salary legislation sends a message to future teachers that they are valued and respected in Illinois,” said Kathi Griffin, president of the Illinois Education Association. “This step is critical as we face growing teacher shortages and will allow us to attract and retain the very best teachers for our children. On behalf of 135,000 members of the Illinois Education Association and their students, I thank Gov. Pritzker and the Illinois General Assembly for their leadership.”

“We have a teacher shortage in our state, and research shows that fair compensation plays a major factor in a person’s decision to choose and stay in a profession,” said Dan Montgomery, president of the Illinois Federation of Teachers. “Too often new teachers struggle financially, and many are forced to work a second job to make ends meet. This legislation is a major step in improving starting salaries and paying teachers based upon their years of education, which will encourage high-quality professionals to enter and stay in the profession. We thank Sen Manar and Rep. Stuart for advancing this much-needed bill and Gov. Pritzker for signing it into law.”

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