SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Education Association (IEA) worked during the legislative session to make sure any educator who wants to teach summer school will be able to.
Senate Bill 1646 excludes any salary increases resulting from teaching summer school beginning on or after May 1, 2021 and before Sept. 15, 2022 from the 6 percent salary threshold. Normally, districts would have to pay the pension contribution for any amount over that 6 percent for veteran educators, likely preventing districts from selecting end-of-career teachers to teach summer school.
“There are educators throughout the state who want to work during the summer to address the academic and social-emotional needs of our students. Since the additional summer school work will not impact the 6 percent salary threshold, the selection of those who will be working this summer will be based on their expertise, not where they fall on the salary schedule,” said IEA President Kathi Griffin.
The measure, which passed 55 to 1, applies to veteran educators and requires the state to pay the pension contribution of anything over and above that amount. This measure has also been advocated for by school management to assist with the planning and implementation of summer school offerings to bridge academic gaps caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The COVID-19 pandemic made this a year incredibly difficult for everyone. This was especially true for our students and education staff. Districts shouldn’t be limited as to which teachers are going to be working with our students during the summer based on the 6 percent salary threshold. Now they won’t have to be,” Griffin said. “We have been working so hard to help solve the teacher shortage that is happening in Illinois. We hope this is just one more tool in the box for that. Having all teachers available to work during the summer could encourage our veteran teachers to continue teaching and take pressure off of some who might have young families, or other concerns, a chance to take a deep breath and prepare for next school year.”
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.