HILLSIDE, Ill. — A proposal sponsored by state Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch, D-Hillside, to increase the minimum salary for Illinois teachers was recently signed into law.
“Teachers dedicate their lives to creating a brighter future for our children and they deserve fair compensation for their work,” Welch said. “The current salary structure makes it difficult for new teachers to make ends meet. Especially when they are facing large sums of student loan debt due to the increased cost of higher education.”
Welch sponsored House Bill 2078, which gradually increases the state’s minimum salary for teachers to $40,000 beginning in the 2023-24 school year. Increases afterwards would be based on the Consumer Price Index. The last Illinois law guiding universal teacher pay was passed in 1980.
According to a 2018 study by the Illinois State Board of Education, in over 500 of Illinois’ 898 school districts, new teachers with a bachelor’s degree received starting salaries less than $40,000. Low, uncompetitive salaries for teachers has led to rapid turnover, decreasing the quality of education, increasing class-sizes and creating the teacher shortage Illinois now faces.
“Because Illinois has gone nearly 40 years without increasing the starting salary for new teachers, we are seeing talented educators leave the state to teach elsewhere,” Welch said. “I’ve seen firsthand the impact that great teachers can have on the education of my kids and this new law will help ensure that we are attracting the best and brightest educators to Illinois.”