SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – State Rep. Mike Halpin, D-Rock Island, is helping secure fair pay for teachers and working to address a shortage of teachers across Illinois by backing legislation increasing their salaries in the coming years.
“Teachers have one of the most important jobs in our society, and they deserve to be paid like it,” Halpin said. “A skilled teacher can foster their students’ interest in learning and create a class of kids who are prepared for college and even future careers. When we invest in good teachers, we are investing in the futures of every student they teach.”
Halpin is sponsoring House Bill 2078, which sets minimum teacher salaries at $32,076 for the 2020-2021 school year and gradually raises it by about $2,000 every year for four years. The last Illinois law guiding universal teacher pay was passed in 1980 and it set base salaries for teachers with a bachelor’s degree and 120 semester hours at just $10,000 a year.
Reports have found more than 1,400 unfilled teaching positions in Illinois, including many in the Quad-Cities. Halpin’s bill will help Illinois schools retain and recruit teachers to fill these positions.
“Better wages bring better teachers, and better teachers mean better schools,” Halpin said. “High-quality education will attract people and business back to Illinois and pump money into our economy. This pay increase will benefit communities across the state.”