SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WTVO) — Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker signed a series of bills into law Wednesday to address a statewide educator shortage, including raising the minimum wage for teachers to $40,000 a year.

The law also increases funding for the Minority Teachers of Illinois scholarship program by 120%, and adds a $200 million investment in early childhood education workforce development programs.

“All across the nation, school districts are fighting the impact of teacher shortages,” said Pritzker. “That’s why I’ve worked with lawmakers and school districts across the state to find new ways to bring people into the profession and encourage them to stay there. In this fight for our children’s futures, school districts should know they’re far from alone.”

The law, effective immediately, requires fees for reinstating a retired teacher to be reduced from $500 to $50, and, on January 1st, 2023, eliminates the requirement that teaching candidates have bachelor’s degrees or higher, instead of making an allowance for 90 credit hours of classroom training.

Also starting January 1st, 2023, the minimum age for a substitute teacher in Illinois is reduced from 19 to 18-years-old.

And finally, effective immediately, under a disaster declaration, a teacher can spend 15 consecutive days in the same classroom, an increase from the currently allowed 5.