* Dusty Rhodes…
As districts around the state begin reaping the benefits of Illinois’ new school funding formula, Democratic lawmakers who just happen to be up for re-election gathered today to remind voters that Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner initially vetoed that funding, and likewise vetoed legislation that would raise minimum teacher salaries to $40,000 over the next five years.
State Sen. Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill), who sponsored the legislation and is seeking re-election, says it’s possible to get enough votes to override the veto when the General Assembly convenes shortly after midterm elections in November.
“I would anticipate, just from my own experience, that the outlook on controversial bills — though I don’t know why this one is controversial — is much different during veto session than it is during spring legislative session,” Manar says. […]
Under current law, districts can pay teachers as little as $10,000 per year. No district does that; starting salaries for teachers in Illinois’ lowest-paying districts are around $26,000 per year. But in hundreds of districts, beginning teachers still earn less than $40,000 — even if they hold master’s degrees.
* And teachers can work for decades and barely make more than $40,000 a year…
Sen. Andy Manar of Bunker Hill, Rep. Sue Scherer of Decatur and Rep. Christian Mitchell of Chicago all said setting a higher minimum wage for teachers in Illinois will help alleviate the teacher shortage.
They got agreement from Connie Charlesworth, who has a master’s degree and retired from teaching after 30 years, earning $45,000 a year.
“Our college students are not stupid. They know how to do the math,” she said at Wednesday’s news conference outside the Illinois Education Association building near the Capitol. “They’re taking a look at how much their education is costing them. They’re also taking a look at their starting salary as teachers. They are deciding in great numbers not to go into the profession.”
Rauner vetoed Senate Bill 2892, which would have gradually increased the minimum wage for teachers to $40,000 in the 2022-23 school year. The current minimum wage is $9,000 a year set in 1980. In his veto message, Rauner called the bill an unfunded mandate and something that would remove local control.