Friday, June 29, 2018

Alliance Legislative Report 100-73


The Illinois General Assembly, Thursday, sent legislation that would mandatorily increase teacher salaries to Governor Bruce Rauner for his consideration. SB 2892 (Manar, D-Bunker Hill) was approved by both the House of Representatives and Senate by narrow vote margins at the end of May. The governor has 60 days to take action on the bill, either by signing it into law or issuing a full or partial veto.

School board members, superintendents, principals, and business officials are urged to contact the governor and ask for a veto of the legislation.

The contact information for the governor is here. The Alliance also sent a letter urging a veto. School district leaders should provide specifics as to how such a new, unfunded mandate would affect their district budgets, staffing, and operations.

SB 2892 provides that under the minimum salary provisions of the School Code, school districts would be required to pay teachers an annual salary of at least $40,000 by the 2022-2023 school year. The phase-in schedule would be as follows:

  • A minimum of 
    • $32,076 for 2019-2020,
    • $34,576 for 2020-2021,
    • $37,076 for 2021-2022, and
    • $40,000 for 2022-2023.
  • The bill further adds that for each school year thereafter, an automatic salary increase would be required, including the minimum salary rate for the previous school year increased by the Consumer Price Index.

Illinois has a collective bargaining law that empowers local school boards, together with their teachers and support staff, to set salaries in consideration of the revenues available. School leaders and staff must take into consideration all aspects of its budget, consider other benefits (i.e. insurance premiums and pension contributions) besides salary, and make very difficult decisions to provide an effective education program that meets the needs of all students.

Local school districts not only would be liable for the new minimum salary, but would have increasing costs due to the inevitable ripple effect this proposal would have throughout the teacher salary schedule. Unintended consequences such as fewer teachers, higher class sizes, and educational program cuts would be likely in many school districts.