$40,000 minimum teacher salary bill passes Illinois House

SOURCE: MGN
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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WIFR) -- A $40,000 minimum salary for Illinois teachers could be moving closer to reality.

House Bill 2078​passed the House on a 79-31 vote Tuesday. The bill would increase salaries gradually over a period of five years to reach a $40,000 minimum.

Sponsored by Rep. Katie Stuart (D-Collinsville), the bill modifies current school code that hasn't been updated since the 1980's. The minimum salary for teachers in Illinois is currently $10,000 a year for those with a bachelor’s degree and $11,000 a year for those with a master’s degree.

As part of a phase-in period of four years, the salary would increase to a $32,076 minimum in the 2020-21 school year, $34,576 in 2021-22 and $37,076 in 2022-23.

“Our ultimate goal is to make sure the students in our state have qualified, caring teachers working with them on a daily basis,” said Kathi Griffin, president of the Illinois Education Association. “We have done focus groups to see what’s keeping our youth from going into the profession, and they tell us they respect teachers but want to earn a decent living."

Fewer than 8,000 of the state's 130,000 teachers make less than $40,000, according to the Illinois State Board of Education.

A similar bill was approved by the Illinois General Assembly last year, but vetoed by then-Gov. Bruce Rauner.