SPRINGFIELD – Lawmakers took action to help save the teaching profession and repealed the 3 percent salary threshold on teacher salaries and reinstated the 6 percent salary threshold. The change was attached to the budget implementation bill.
Illinois Education Association (IEA) President Kathi Griffin, along with members, delivered 55,000 petitions calling for the repeal to Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s office just last week. IEA members also have sent thousands of emails and made hundreds of phone calls to lawmakers urging them to repeal the 3.
“This shows that our members’ voices were heard loud and clear in Springfield. Educators from around the state stepped up to save our profession and protect our students,” IEA President Kathi Griffin said. “It’s amazing to see how powerful we can be when we are united. We have a strong collective voice and we will continue to use it to advocate for our students and public education.”
Last year, deep within the budget implementation bill, lawmakers passed a provision that limited bumps in salary to 3 percent for members of the Teachers’ Retirement System or State Universities Retirement System for those in the last 10 years of their career, unless the employer wanted to pick up the excess pension cost. The 3 percent was simply a cost shift putting the financial burden on local taxpayers and college students instead of the state. The threshold had been 6 percent prior to that.
This law unfairly penalized veteran educators and could have significantly reduced lifetime earnings for all teachers. Because educators can qualify for a pension after five years and can leave their school district at any time, school board attorneys had been arguing for a 3 percent limit on all salary increases across the entire length of an educator’s teaching contract, creating havoc in districts in the midst of negotiations.
“We want to thank our lawmakers for standing with our educators and doing the right thing for our students and public education,” Griffin said. “Restoring the 6 percent threshold means we are allowing districts to attract the best and brightest to their schools. Our students benefit when we value and fairly compensate our teachers.”
The 6 percent salary threshold is expected to take effect upon Gov. Pritzker’s signature of the budget package. You can find more information about the push to repeal the 3 here.
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.