By CARL GREEN
Springfield IL – The Illinois Senate plan to increase the minimum salary for public school teachers has been picked up in the House, led by two Metro-East legislators.
Rep. Katie Stuart (D-Edwardsville) filed House Bill 2078 last month, with Rep. Jay Hoffman (D-Swansea) signing on as chief co-sponsor. The bill is the same as Senate Bill 10, filed in January by Sen. Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill), with co-sponsors including Rachelle Aud Crowe (D-Wood River) and Dale Fowler (R-Harrisburg).
The bill would increase the current $10,000 minimum annual salary to $40,000 in four annual steps by the 2023-24 school year. The intermediate steps would be $32,076 for 2020-21, $34,576 for 2021-22 and $37,076 for 2022-23. Future increases would be pegged to the Consumer Price Index.
Hoffman said an increase in the minimum salary is long overdue and would be well-deserved.
“Teachers in every corner of our state inspire knowledge and aspiration in our children’s futures every day,” he said. “It is unacceptable that so many devoted teachers tasked with educating our youth are struggling to make ends meet.
He noted that the bill would help schools retain qualified educators. The current minimum was set in 1980.
“It is crucial that we take corrective action to pay our teachers a livable wage while also making Illinois more attractive to quality teachers,” Hoffman said. “To maintain the integrity and long-term quality of our education system, we need to pay our teachers an amount that accurately reflects the value of their work.”