SPRINGFIELD – Senate Bill 1952 (SB 1952) passed the Senate tonight with bipartisan support on a 51-5 vote. SB 1952 would repeal the 3 percent salary limit law on teacher salaries. The current law is a cost shift, moving the responsibility of paying for educators’ salaries to local school districts, institutions of higher education and taxpayers.
The bill sponsored by Andy Manar, D-Bunker Hill, amends the Downstate Teachers and State Universities Articles of the Illinois Pension Code and reverts the threshold back to 6 percent. The bill also allows each school district to provide a salary to a student teacher employed by the district and removes the requirement that teachers must pass a basic skills test for licensure. The bill is a step in addressing the chronic teacher shortage in Illinois.
“This is a step in the right direction. All our students deserve access to a high quality education, and this bipartisan legislation will help us attract the best candidates to the teaching profession,” said Illinois Education Association President Kathi Griffin. “This bill will make sure our teachers are fairly compensated for their work throughout their careers. This alone will not end the teacher shortage in Illinois, but it’s a start. Together we can continue to work toward solutions.”
The 3 percent limitation is a disincentive for school districts to offer any increase in compensation for teachers. Since the measure passed last summer, districts and higher education institutions have applied this to all active TRS and SURS members no matter how close the member is to retirement. The limitation deters districts from rewarding teachers who earned master’s degrees, obtained additional academic credentials or performed other extracurricular duties.
“We have to continue making changes to the things that are detrimental to the teaching profession and are driving would-be teachers to other states,” said Sen. Manar. “I think this package is a necessary step, and I am excited that it contains excellent ideas that originated with teachers on the frontlines in schools throughout the state.”
The IEA initiated this bill to repeal the 3 percent salary limit law that shifts the state’s cost of paying for an educator’s pensionable earnings to local school districts and institutions of higher education and local property tax payers. More than 50,000 IEA members have signed a petition to repeal the 3 percent. The bill will now be considered in the House.
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.