Hoffman bill would raise Illinois teachers’ minimum wage

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Metro legislators are leading a push to give many Illinois teachers a much-needed raise, potentially easing the state’s teacher shortage.

Representative Jay Hoffman (D-Swansea) sponsored House Bill 5175 to require school boards to increase the base salaries of teachers working full-time to at least $40,000 a year – no windfall, but better than many of them now get.

The House passed the bill April 26 on a mostly party-line vote, 61-38, and it is now before the Senate.

“The Illinois teacher shortage is real,” Hoffman said. “To effectively address this situation, I sponsored legislation to increase teacher pay because we must compete with other states to attract and retain teachers.

“If we want to maintain the integrity and long-term quality of our education system, we need to pay our teachers an amount that more accurately reflects the value of their work.”

Illinois already has minimum salaries for teachers, but they have been overtaken by inflation. The current minimum for a teacher with a bachelor’s degree is $9,000, and it’s just $11,000 with a master’s degree. Hoffman’s increase would go into effect July 1, 2019.

Opponents say the bill amounts to an unfunded mandate that small rural districts won’t be able to afford, in part, because the Legislature has not lived up to its promises to fund school districts.

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