Senate committee advances bill after veto last year by Gov. Rauner
State Sen. Andy Manar is pushing an increase in the minimum teacher salary after a similar bill was vetoed by Gov. Rauner last year. (Sen. Andy Manar)
By Ted Cox
A push to raise the minimum salary for teachers is on the move again in the General Assembly.
State Sen. Andy Manar of Bunker Hill, who led the fight to reform the state education funding formula for public schools, has resubmitted a bill to raise the minimum state teacher salary to $40,000 after former Gov. Rauner vetoed it last year.
The bill cleared a Senate committee last week, with Manar arguing that the state’s current minimum salary of $10,000, established in 1980, only encourages a teacher shortage.
“This is where the rubber meets the road,” Manar said before the committee last week. “Do we want to attract talented young teachers to Illinois, or do we want to watch them put down professional roots in other states?
“A $10,000 minimum wage set in statute absolutely sends the wrong message about the value we place on the teaching profession in Illinois,” he added.
According to Manar’s office, the minimum salary is actually $9,000 for teachers without a bachelor’s degree. “Based on decades of inflation, the minimum mandated salary today should be about $32,000,” and “a living minimum wage” of $40,000 “could attract more young people to the profession by sending a message that their work is valued.”
If enacted into law, the bill would set the state minimum salary for teachers at just over $32,000 in the fall of 2020, and would raise it by annual incremental steps to $40,000 for the 2023-24 school year.
“This proposal acknowledges that, if we want the best and brightest young people to join the teaching ranks in Illinois, we have to give them some level of guarantee that they’re going to earn a decent wage and be able to support their families,” Manar said. “This update to state law is long, long overdue.”
Illinois Education Association President Kathi Griffin said she was “extremely disappointed but not surprised” by Rauner’s veto last August, adding that a $40,000 minimum wage “would have been the best way to combat the teacher shortage in Illinois,” and “by vetoing this bill, the governor is disrespecting every teacher, student and community in Illinois.”
Manar’s Senate Bill 10 cleared the Senate Education Committee by an overwhelming vote of 14-3 on Wednesday.
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February 11, 2019 at 10:37AM