Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Alliance Legislative Report 101-14

The Illinois General Assembly resumes the spring legislative session today (Tuesday) after a two week break. House bills still moving through the process are now in the Senate; Senate bills will be considered by the House of Representatives.

There are a number of bills opposed by the Alliance that have been approved in the chamber of origin. As they are considered by committees in the opposite chamber, a new opportunity exists for school board members and administrators to express their opposition to legislators. It is imperative that local school district representatives weigh in on these matters, explaining the impact the legislation would have on their school districts.

In what would become one of the most costly unfunded mandates on school districts, HB 2078 (Stuart, D-Collinsville) would arbitrarily increase the minimum salary for teachers to $40,000 per year. The House approved the bill earlier this month on a vote of 79-31. Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) is handling the bill in the Senate. HB 2078 is scheduled for a hearing and vote in the Senate Education Committee tomorrow (May 1) at 2 p.m.

School board members and administrators are urged to call their State Senator and ask for a "NO" vote on the bill. They should also submit a witness slip to officially register their opposition to the Committee. Complete instructions on how to submit a committee witness slip can be found here.

HB 2078 requires all school boards to increase the minimum rate of salary for teachers in the district, phased in as follows:

  • not less than $32,076 for the 2020-2021 school year 
  • not less than $34,576 for the 2021-2022 school year 
  • not less than $37,076 for the 2022-2023 school year 
  • not less than $40,000 for the 2023-2024 school year 

Each year thereafter, the minimum teacher salary, subject to review by the General Assembly, must increase from year to year by the rate of the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

Enactment of HB 2078 would bring public schools closer to a standard, statutory salary schedule, as well as consume a significant share of any increase in funding that comes to school districts from the new evidence-based formula. Though the legislative change would require a minimum salary (of which at least half of Illinois' 850 school districts are now below), there would undoubtedly be a ripple effect throughout the entire salary schedule if the bill were to be enacted into law. More importantly, it usurps the local authority of local school boards and teachers to negotiate salary and benefits based on the resources, wants, and needs of teachers, the community, and the district.

Click here to read the full Alliance Legislative Report 101-14, including other issues to watch.