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The government of Illinois in the United States enacted two new legislation to address the state’s lack of teachers.
According to state education officials, more than 1,800 teaching positions remained vacant from the school year 2018-2019. Additionally, a survey conducted this year revealed that around 90% of school districts in some parts of Illinois experienced problems in filling teaching positions. To address the teacher shortage, Illinois governor J.B. Pritzker signed into law a raise in teachers’ minimum remuneration and increased K-12 funding.
Previously, the starting pay of Illinois teachers varies depending on factors like the teacher’s level of education and years of teaching experience. It also depends on the location and budget of the school district. Consequently, some teachers earn only less than $40,000 annually. But with the new legislation, their starting salaries will be raised in increments over the next three years. By 2023, their minimum pay will be at least $40,000.
Apart from increased remuneration, an additional $375 million was allotted for basic education as the state’s way of stepping up to its duty to finance school districts.
Pritzker’s initiatives were met with praise. In fact, the Illinois Federation of Teachers said that the higher minimum pay will encourage teachers to enter and stay in the profession. A legislator also commented that the new salary increase will assure teachers that their profession is valued in the state.
However, former Illinois governor Bruce Rauner criticized this, saying that minimum pay was an inefficient way to compensate teachers. He said that teachers will receive better compensation if things like performance and prior work experience are considered for salary increase.