The IEA pushed for, supported and helped pass several pieces of legislation to help students, educators
SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Education Association (IEA) worked with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle and the governor’s office to ensure the passage of several pieces of pro-public education legislation during the 2018-19 legislative session in Springfield.
Topping that list is the repeal of the 3 percent salary cap for teachers. The 6 percent salary threshold will be restored when Gov. J.B. Pritzker signs the budget implementation bill, which he is expected to do.
“We want to thank all our hardworking lawmakers for coming across the aisle to meet members of the IEA in the middle and stand up for public education,” IEA President Kathi Griffin said. “From protecting drivers’ education to adding more funding to higher education, to early childhood, K-12 schools and school safety, our members have shown when it comes to the issues that impact their students, they will not be silent. Our collective voice was heard and well received in Springfield. We’re so glad we could work together as a state to put our students first.”
Legislation passed by lawmakers this session that will have a positive impact on public education:
- Restore 6% salary threshold/repeal 3% (SB 1814 – Budget Implementation Bill) – Restores 6 percent salary threshold and repeals 3 percent salary threshold 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. Districts actually applied this to the entire career, stifling salary increases across the board.
- $15 minimum wage (SB 1) – Raises minimum wage every year until it reaches $15 an hour in 2025.
- Minimum Teacher Salary (HB 2078) – Sets the minimum salary for a teacher in Illinois at $40,000.
- Drivers Ed Protections (HB 247) – Requires school districts that contract with a third party to teach drivers education have to make sure the teacher meets the educator licensure and endorsement requirements and the observation requirements that apply to non-tenured teachers.
- Threat Assessment Protocol Teams (HB 1561) – Creates the Threat Assessment Protocol Teams for school districts to help prevent school violence. Outlines the authority to create the teams, makeup of these teams, and responsibilities for the teams. This legislation also expands the county sales tax expenditure to include school health and safety personnel.
- Mental Health Early Action on Campus Act (HB 2152) – Creates the Mental Health Early Action on Campus Act. Provides that to raise mental health awareness on college campuses, each public college or university in this state must complete specified tasks. Provides that the board of trustees of each public college or university must designate an expert panel to develop and implement policies and procedures.
- 5 Hour Instructional Day (SB 0028) – Re-inserts language that established the five-hour instructional school day.
- Fair Tax (SJRCA 1) – Proposes to amend the Revenue Article of the Illinois Constitution. Removes a provision that provides that a tax on income shall be measured at a non-graduated rate and will allow Illinoisans to vote on the issue.
- Additional Education Funding (Budget) – This year’s budget includes an additional 5 percent in funding for higher education, an additional 6 percent for community college and an additional $375 million for k-12, as well as $50 million increase in college grant money and a $50 million increase in early childhood education funding.
- Elimination of the Illinois State Charter School Commission (SB 1226) – Abolishes the Charter School Commission by 2020. Ends the appeal route for charter school operators and gives communities final say on whether or not charter schools can operate in their school district. Transfers oversight to the Illinois State Board of Education.
“This is just the beginning,” Griffin said. “There is no easy fix for our current teacher shortage. Higher education institutions are still recovering from years of underfunding. We need a fix for the second tier of our pension system. Our education support professionals are still struggling to provide for their families on their meager wages, but we’ve seen what can happen when we all work together to do what’s right for educators, our students and our state. We know there is more work to do, and we won’t give up. We plan to continue to work to make public education in Illinois better for our students, our schools and our communities.”
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.