BELLEVILLE, Ill. – Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed a package of measures backed by state Rep. Jay Hoffman, D-Swansea, Wednesday aimed at addressing teacher shortage issues by lowering licensing fees, removing bureaucratic hurdles for substitute teachers and increasing opportunities for students pursuing a career in education.
“Schools across our state are facing challenges recruiting and retaining educators,” Hoffman said. “The pandemic has exacerbated these challenges, which is why I have supported a number of initiatives aimed at removing unnecessary restrictions, lowering fees and creating more opportunity for people to pursue this critically-important career.”
Measures signed by Pritzker Wednesday include:
- House Bill 4246, which reduces the fee teachers with relapsed licenses must pay from $500 to $50,
- House Bill 4798, which aims to increase substitute teacher ranks by allowing currently enrolled teaching students to obtain additional classroom training through a substitute teaching license if they already have completed 90 credit hours,
- Senate Bill 3988, which lowers the minimum age for paraprofessional educators from 19 to 18, enabling more prospective educators to enter the classroom earlier, and
- Senate Bill 3907, which during a disaster declaration increases the number of consecutive days a substitute teacher can spend in a classroom, from 5 to 15 days.
While not signed by the governor yet, Hoffman also supported Senate Bill 3893, which increases the number of days a substitute teacher can work from 90 days to 120 days.
“I’m incredibly appreciative of the work our teachers do each and every day,” Hoffman said. “It is not easy work, and these individuals make a lot of sacrifices to help our children pursue their dreams. Our educators and our students deserve to be put in situations that enable them to maximize their potential – we can only do this if we are responsibly addressing shortage issues.”