Pritzker Signs Legislation Raising Teacher Minimum Salary to $40,000 to Address Statewide Teacher Shortage

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[August 23, 2019] 

Taking another step to address the statewide teacher shortage, Governor JB Pritzker signed legislation today raising teachers’ minimum salary to $40,000.

“As Illinois children head back to school this week and next, this new law says to them and their parents loud and clear: we value teachers,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “In signing this legislation, we’re addressing our teacher shortage and gradually putting teachers on track to make at least $40,000 a year by the first day of school in 2023. To teachers all across Illinois: I see the care and compassion you put into your work, and I’m proud to help make sure you earn what you’re worth.”

The current minimum teacher salary ranges from only $9,000 to $11,000 and hasn’t been raised in decades. The new law phases in the increases over four years: $32,076 for the 2020-2021 school year, $34,576 for the 2021-2022 school year, $37,076 for the 2022-2023 school year, and $40,000 for the 2023-2024 school year. In the years following, the minimum salary will rise based on the Consumer Price Index, subject to review by the General Assembly.

Signing HB 2078, which takes effect on January 1, 2020, is one of Gov. Pritzker’s approaches to reduce the teacher shortage across the state and revitalize the state’s education system after years of disinvestment.

  • Historic K-12 funding: In the state budget signed into law on June 6, Gov. Pritzker enacted a historic $375 million increase in K-12 funding.

  • Capital investments & broadband expansion: On June 28, Gov. Pritzker signed the Rebuild Illinois capital plan which invested over half a billion dollars in preK-12 projects and $420 million into statewide broadband expansion, including expanding Illinois Century Network, which connects schools across the state to high-speed internet.

  • Basic skills test: On August 8, Gov. Pritzker signed legislation permanently eliminating the basic skills test for teacher licensure allowing school districts to pay student teachers (SB 1952 / Public Act 101-0220).

  • Returning teachers: On July 12, Gov. Pritzker signed legislation extending the eligible employment period for teachers returning to the classroom in shortage areas by two years, particularly helping downstate communities (HB 1472 / Public Act 101-0049).

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According to Illinois State Board of Education data from the 2018-2019 school year, there are 4,196 unfilled positions in school districts across the state, including 1,848 unfilled teaching positions.

“This is a long-needed change and I’m glad to see that both sides of the aisle came forward to support this legislation,” said Sen. Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill). “We’re showing that we value teachers in Illinois and that’s going to go a long way toward attracting qualified teachers in Illinois and convincing young people to consider a career in education.”

“Time and time again, I hear that teaching is one of the most important professions in our state, but we have not seen that reflected in how teachers are paid. By establishing a new minimum salary for teachers, we are ensuring that teachers know they are valued here in the state of Illinois,” said Rep. Katie Stuart (D-Edwardsville). “Over the past few years, we have seen a teacher shortage emerge across the state. Last school year, around 1,400 positions for teachers remained open. Establishing a new minimum salary for teachers will help to fill some of those open positions and shows that Illinois has gotten on the right track to invest in our educators and our education system.”

“This $40,000 minimum salary legislation sends a message to future teachers that they are valued and respected in Illinois,” said Kathi Griffin, President of the Illinois Education Association. “This step is critical as we face growing teacher shortages and will allow us to attract and retain the very best teachers for our children. On behalf of 135,000 members of the Illinois Education Association and their students, I thank Gov. Pritzker and the Illinois General Assembly for their leadership.”

“We have a teacher shortage in our state, and research shows that fair compensation plays a major factor in a person's decision to choose and stay in a profession,” said Dan Montgomery, President of the Illinois Federation of Teachers. “Too often new teachers struggle financially, and many are forced to work a second job to make ends meet. This legislation is a major step in improving starting salaries and paying teachers based upon their years of education, which will encourage high-quality professionals to enter and stay in the profession. We thank Senator Manar and Representative Stuart for advancing this much-needed bill and Governor Pritzker for signing it into law.”

[Office of the Governor JB Pritzker]

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