SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – As part of efforts to address a teacher shortage and encourage Illinois students to pursue a career in elementary and secondary education, state Rep. Dave Vella, D-Rockford, is backing the creation of a public school teacher reimbursement grant program.
“There’s a clear need to recruit and retain more teachers, and this proposal would create greater incentive to attract talent,” Vella said. “Few professions make such a profound difference in the lives of others, we have to make sure we’re making this job financially worthwhile for potential teachers to pursue.”
Vella sponsored and voted for House Bill 4139, which would require the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) to create and operate a public school teacher reimbursement grant program. Qualifying teachers would be reimbursed for up to eight semesters or 12 quarters of the tuition and mandatory fees paid at a public institution of higher learning in Illinois to acquire a Professional Educator License. Public school teachers who receive the grant would be required to be educators in Illinois.
According to a 2021 Illinois Association of Regional Superintendents of Schools survey, 88% of responding school districts indicated a belief that they have a teacher shortage problem.
“I’m thankful for our many great teachers who serve our area’s students each and every day,” Vella said. “Our passionate teachers spark imagination and create opportunity, we need to continue to support them more.”
House Bill 4139 recently passed the House, and is currently under consideration in the Senate.