SPRINGFIELD – Today, House Bill 2078 passed out of committee to the House floor, marking the second $40,000 minimum teacher salary bill to make it out of committee this legislative session and taking a big step toward making the $40,000 minimum salary reality.
Currently, the state school code sets the minimum salary for teachers in Illinois at $10,000 a year for those with a bachelor’s degree and $11,000 for those with a master’s degree. In addition, Illinois is in the midst of a teacher shortage and last year, more than 1,500 positions went unfilled and more than 2,000 went unfilled the year before.
Rep. Katie Stuart, D-Collinsville, is the sponsor of HB 2078, which passed out of the House Elementary and Secondary Education Committee on a 5-2 vote, and Sen. Andy Manar, D-Bunker Hill, is the sponsor of Senate Bill 10, which is on third reading in the Illinois Senate.
In both versions of the bill, the increase would be phased in over five years, giving districts time to plan financially for the change. The same legislation passed last year but was vetoed by former Gov. Bruce Rauner.
“This shortage is having a detrimental impact on our children, our state’s most precious resource. A minimum salary requirement will help districts attract and retain high quality professionals who will stay and provide stability for our students, and this is a win for districts and students,” said Kathi Griffin, IEA president.
“We recently held focus groups with high school seniors and college students who were interested in education as a profession. While they respect what teachers do for a living, their biggest reservation about pursuing it as a career is the pay – far and above any other issue.”
Stuart, the sponsor of the bill and former teacher, said it’s important that educators feel valued.
“Teachers hold one of the most crucial positions in a student’s life, a place where they can make a difference every day. It’s important they are treated like the professionals they are, and this bill goes a long way toward showing them the respect they deserve.”
An analysis of Illinois State Board of Education data shows that fewer than 8,000 of the state’s 130,000 teachers make less than $40,000. Illinois could bring all of the teachers currently being paid less than $40,000 up to the $40,000 mark this year and only use 10 percent of the evidence-based funding formula dollars. However, the bill does not make that proposition, instead phasing it in over five years. And, the new evidence-based funding formula is designed to funnel money to the school districts with the most need, helping to ensure every district can meet its financial obligations.
The 135,000 member Illinois Education Association (IEA-NEA) is the state’s largest education employee’s organization. IEA represents preK-12 teachers outside of the city of Chicago and education support staff, higher education faculty, retired education employees and students preparing to become teachers, statewide.