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Illinois lawmakers set to pass $40k teacher wage requirement

SPRINGFIELD, Illinois (Illinois News Network) — Illinois lawmakers are set to advance a bill to Gov. Bruce Rauner that would require school districts to pay first-year teachers at least $40,000 a year by 2022 and mandate annual increases thereafter.

The legislation would set the minimum teacher pay to $32,000 for the coming school year and scale up to $40,000 by the fall of 2022. The minimum would then be raised commensurately with inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index.

While many schools in more urban areas are well above the proposed minimum, schools in central and southern Illinois would have to come up with more money for teachers.

State Rep. Christian Mitchell, D-Chicago, told the committee hearing the bill on Tuesday that teachers are tasked with too much to be paid less.

“You can either ask teachers to cure all the ills of society, to be parents and instructors, to help their children realize their dreams or you can pay them poverty wages,” he said. “You can’t do both.”

Southern Illinois Rep. John Cavaletto, R-Salem, voted against it. He said it would be too costly for many schools in his district.

“This is a mandate for local school boards to come up with that money,” he said.

It passed along party lines.

The bill needs a full House vote to be sent to Rauner for consideration.