Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Governor Pritzker signs bill raising the minimum teacher salary

Last Thursday, Governor Pritzker signed into law a bill raising the minimum teacher salary to $40,000. Prior to signing the law, the minimum teacher salary was between $9,000 and $11,000 and had last been raised in 1980.

The minimum salary will go into effect gradually, with the $40,000 salary taking effect during the 2023-2024 school year. Next year the minimum salary will be $32,076, the year after that it will be $34,576, and during the 2022-2023 school year, it will rise to $37,076.

According to the Illinois State Board of Education, the average salary of a public school teacher in Illinois was $65,721 during the 2017-2018 school year. However, many rural school districts, with much smaller and less affluent tax bases, are forced to pay teachers far less than this. Many of these districts have expressed concerns that the increase in this teacher minimum salary will force them to lay off teachers or raise property taxes.

Governor Pritzker has attempted to allay these fears by noting that the State has greatly increased funding for K-12 education, with an increase of $375 million in this funding in the State’s latest budget. The Governor claims that this will allow less affluent school districts to afford to raise teacher pay. He also noted that it would help to fill the more than 1,800 unfilled teaching positions around the State.

The Governor also attempted to address this shortage by extending the eligible employment period by two years for returning teachers in areas facing a shortage. He also signed legislation removing the requirement that student teachers pass a basic skills test necessary to get an education license.

Ancel Glink has a robust school law practice, and we have been advising school districts for decades. Feel free to contact us if you have questions about your school district.