Governor Bruce Rauner signed into law several bills last week -- that proponents claim will reduce the state’s teacher shortage.
The state’s largest teachers union - the Illinois Education Association - says the legislation doesn’t do enough to solve the problem.
The bipartisan legislation includes some changes to teacher licensing, and it also creates a training program for substitute teachers … and allows some districts to contract with third party companies to hire subs. The legislation, however, doesn’t address teacher salaries. And Jim Reed says low pay is the driving factor behind the teacher shortage. Reed is the director of government relations for the Illinois Education Association. “The reality is that the reason why we are losing educators in Illinois is because they are not, in some instances, appropriately compensated.” Reed says the measure is intended to help the lowest paid teachers in the state - most of whom work in southern and central Illinois. “So those that are in the southern part of the state and central they should be compensated at a higher level because they do the same work that educators do in the northern part of the state.” Lawmakers approved a bill to establish a minimum teacher salary of $40,000 earlier this year. But Rauner has yet to take any action on the measure.