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Illinois House once again approves $40,000 minimum teacher salary

Illinois Watchdog.Org

Thursday, April 11, 2019  |  Article  |  By Benjamin Yount

Education--Educators/Administrators Bourne, Avery---State House, 95 , Stuart, Katie--State House, 112
It looks like some teachers in Illinois are going to get a raise this time around. 

The Illinois House once again put its stamp of approval on a plan to require schools to pay teachers at least $40,000 a year by the 2023-24 school year.

Lawmakers approved the same plan last year, but former Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed it. 

The concerns are still the same. State Rep. Avery Bourne, R-Raymond, said just because lawmakers say teachers should be paid more, that doesn't mean school districts can afford to pay them more. 

"For school districts that have been chronically underfunded from the state, magically saying that they have to pay teachers more is not going to allow them the money to do that," Bourne said. "And it's not going to make them competitive with school districts around them who are able to offer teachers more than the minimum level."

But the plan's sponsor, state Rep. Katie Stuart, said the cost isn't the concern.

"I think our school districts are concerned with the fact that they are not able to get the high-quality teachers that they want in the classrooms," Stuart, D-Edwardsville, said on the floor of the Illinois House. "They have teachers that frequently leave positions after one or two years because they are seeking better compensation in other districts."

Stuart said local school districts will be able to phase in the $140 million cost over five years. 

The plan heads to the Illinois Senate next.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker is expected to sign it.