Nearly 8,000 Illinois teachers could soon see a bigger paycheck. That’s after the Illinois House passed a bill that would increase a teacher’s minimum salary to $40,000.
In an effort to put the best educators in front of students, the bill was passed by the State House on Tuesday.
“I don’t think the $40,000 minimum has ever been a discussion on saying that teachers that are working day in and day out and working hard to impact our kids, that they’re not worth that,” Scott Bloomquist, Assistant Regional Superintendent at Boone-Winnebago County, said.
Lawmakers that support the bill say the ultimate goal is to help solve Illinois’ teacher shortage.
“High school students are able to see they can graduate from college in three to four years from now and be able to be close to that as a benchmark for an income.”
According to the Illinois State Board of Education, teachers’ base salary in Rockford Public Schools is about $38,000, in Belvidere is about $40,000 and at Hononegah is abound $43,000.
“My understanding is that I don’t know any of them weren’t going to be at that $40,000 minimum by 2025 anyway,” Bloomquist said.
Bloomquist says while the salary minimum may be deserved, his office will feel the financial impact.
“Since we’re alternative schools, we don’t get any local funding,” Bloomquist said. “We’re not tax based like the school districts, 100% of our funding comes from the State Board of Education.”
The increase would be phased in over the course of five years, giving districts time to plan for the hike, but Bloomquist says it may not be so easy for some Southern Illinois districts, even in five years.
“There are school districts in our state that don’t have a good property tax base,” Bloomquist said. “This is going to be very significant to some of those school districts.”
The bill passed on a 79 to 31 vote. It is now headed to the Senate.
In the past, former Governor Bruce Rauner vetoed the bill.