Contributed article by the Illinois Senate Democrats.
SPRINGFIELD – Ensuring teachers earn a livable minimum salary is one significant step Illinois can take to recruit more educators into rural and downstate classrooms and address the ongoing shortage, State Senator Andy Manar said today. The Senate Education Committee approved his measure raising Illinois’ minimum mandated salary for full-time teachers for the first time since 1980.
“Fewer talented young people are going into the teaching profession for numerous reasons, one of which is pay. Would-be teachers can get a higher salary right out of college in other areas of the workforce, which his opposite of our priorities and our needs in this state,” he said.
Senate Bill 2892 updates Illinois statute by increasing the minimum mandated annual salary for full-time teachers to $40,000. The statute has not been updated in 38 years. Currently, minimum mandated salaries are set at $11,000 for a teacher with a master’s degree, $10,000 for those with bachelor’s degrees and $9,000 for teachers with less than a bachelor’s degree.
Manar said there are teachers in his Senate district who have master’s degrees but live under the federal poverty level.
“To me, this is an issue of respect – for the teaching profession and for the credentials we ask teachers to bring to the table,” Manar said. “Today, Illinois is investing record amounts of money in schools that tend to have the least competitive salary schedules. There are hundreds of empty classrooms all over the state in communities with enormous challenges and the highest rates of poverty because they can’t recruit teachers,” he said. “Updating Illinois’ minimum mandated teacher salary is a good place to begin addressing the problem.”