Teacher350SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Andy Manar said he is disappointed but not surprised by the governor’s veto Sunday of a plan to raise the minimum wage for Illinois teachers for the first time since 1980.

For nearly four decades, state statute has required Illinois school districts to pay teachers a minimum salary of about $10,000. Based on decades of inflation, the minimum mandated salary today should be about $32,000.

Manar (D-Bunker Hill), the Senate sponsor of the measure, noted that there are teachers throughout Illinois today who live at or below the federal poverty line, something he said he finds unconscionable given the professionalism and dedication required to educate children.

It was hoped that raising the minimum salary would help Illinois tackle an acute teacher shortage crisis by sending a message that the work teachers do is valued and attracting more young people to the profession.

“Refusing to guarantee professional educators a livable minimum wage is no way to lure more teachers to Illinois,” he said. “I’m disappointed in the governor’s veto, and I know thousands of dedicated, hard-working, creative educators throughout the state are, too.”

Under the measure (Senate Bill 2892), the state would update the minimum mandated salary for teachers annually for the next four years. After that, subject to review by the General Assembly, it would be increased according to the Consumer Price Index. The phase-in looks like this under the proposal:

  • $32,076 minimum for the 2019-2020 school year
  • $34,576 minimum for the 2020-2021 school year
  • $37,076 minimum for the 2021-2022 school year
  • $40,000 minimum for the 2022-2023 school year

It is unknown if the General Assembly will attempt to override the veto.

Illinois Education Association President Kathi Griffin said members of the organization, which backed the minimum wage bill, also are disappointed but unsurprised by the governor’s veto.

“The governor repeatedly says he’s a friend of education, but his actions tell us otherwise. Senator Manar’s legislation would have been the best way to combat the teacher shortage in Illinois. Studies show the most effective way to alleviate a teacher shortage crisis is through respect and adequate wages,” Griffin said.

“By vetoing this bill, the governor is disrespecting every teacher, student and community in Illinois. We are in the midst of a crisis the governor does not seem interested in fixing.”

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