SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Local teachers will be paid fairly under a new law from state Rep. Mike Halpin, D-Rock Island, raising the starting teacher salary in order to address the statewide teacher shortage.
“Paying teachers fairly is the first step toward building a stronger education system for Illinois’ middle-class families,” Halpin said. “Whether they are teaching our kids the skills they need to work high-wage jobs or guiding them through a critical stage in their lives, teachers play an invaluable part. This new law is a step towards ensuring they get a fair salary for their good work.”
Halpin passed 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. This legislation received strong bipartisan support and is now law.
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.
“Our community is dealing with a teacher shortage that is having very real and immediate consequences for our children,” Halpin said. “We need to do all we can to encourage more people to become teachers so kids are getting the high-quality education they deserve.”