Teacher Starting Salaries Could Rise in Illinois

A little over 60-percent of Illinois public school districts have a starting annual salary of less than $40,000 for teachers.  That could change, as both the Senate and the House are looking at setting a minimum salary for a teacher inside the state.  Advocates are saying that House Bill 20-78 would remedy the state’s growing teacher shortage.  During a March survey by the Illinois Association of Regional Superintendents, 85-percent of responding school districts have had a major or minor problem with the teacher shortage.  Most problems occurred in central or southern Illinois, where 90-percent of responding district said that they had problems finding qualified teachers to fill positions.  Most school districts would have to lay off employees, cut programs, or increase classroom sizes, in order to accommodate a salary increase.  Under the bill, salary increases would occur in steps, starting at $32,000 for the 2020-21 school year, before reaching the $40,000 plateau by 2023-24.  HB 20-78 was passed by a vote of 79 to 31 by the House, which now heads to the Senate for consideration.