Pritzker Signs Law Mandating $40,000 Salary for Teachers

I doubt this will have much effect in McHenry County, but, in the more rural areas of our state, there may be problems finding the money to reach this mandate.

Of course, it doesm’t take effect until 2023, so maybe inflation will produce the extra property tax dollars.

Gov. Pritzker Signs Legislation Raising Teacher Minimum Salary to $40,000 to Address Statewide Teacher Shortage

Springfield, Ill. — Taking another step to address the statewide teacher shortage, Governor JB Pritzker signed legislation today raising teachers’ minimum salary to $40,000.
“As Illinois children head back to school this week and next, this new law says to them and their parents loud and clear: we value teachers,” said Governor JB Pritzker. 

“In signing this legislation, we’re addressing our teacher shortage and gradually putting teachers on track to make at least $40,000 a year by the first day of school in 2023.

To teachers all across Illinois: I see the care and compassion you put into your work, and I’m proud to help make sure you earn what you’re worth.”
The current minimum teacher salary ranges from only $9,000 to $11,000 and hasn’t been raised in decades. The new law phases in the increases over four years:

  • $32,076 for the 2020-2021 school year
  • $34,576 for the 2021-2022 school year
  • $37,076 for the 2022-2023 school year, and
  • $40,000 for the 2023-2024 school year.

In the years following, the minimum salary will rise based on the Consumer Price Index, subject to review by the General Assembly. 
Signing HB 2078, which takes effect on January 1, 2020, is one of Gov. Pritzker’s approaches to reduce the teacher shortage across the state and revitalize the state’s education system after years of disinvestment.

• Historic K-12 funding: In the state budget signed into law on June 6, Gov. Pritzker enacted a historic $375 million increase in K-12 funding.
• Capital investments & broadband expansion: On June 28, Gov. Pritzker signed the Rebuild Illinois capital plan which invested over half a billion dollars in preK-12 projects and $420 million into statewide broadband expansion, including expanding Illinois Century Network, which connects schools across the state to high-speed internet.
• Basic skills test: On August 8, Gov. Pritzker signed legislation permanently eliminating the basic skills test for teacher licensure allowing school districts to pay student teachers (SB 1952 / Public Act 101-0220).
• Returning teachers: On July 12, Gov. Pritzker signed legislation extending the eligible employment period for teachers returning to the classroom in shortage areas by two years, particularly helping downstate communities (HB 1472 / Public Act 101-0049).     

According to Illinois State Board of Education data from the 2018-2019 school year, there are 4,196 unfilled positions in school districts across the state, including 1,848 unfilled teaching positions.
“This is a long-needed change and I’m glad to see that both sides of the aisle came forward to support this legislation,” said Sen. Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill). “We’re showing that we value teachers in Illinois and that’s going to go a long way toward attracting qualified teachers in Illinois and convincing young people to consider a career in education.”
“Time and time again, I hear that teaching is one of the most important professions in our state, but we have not seen that reflected in how teachers are paid. By establishing a new minimum salary for teachers, we are ensuring that teachers know they are valued here in the state of Illinois,” said Rep. Katie Stuart (D-Edwardsville). “Over the past few years, we have seen a teacher shortage emerge across the state. Last school year, around 1,400 positions for teachers remained open. Establishing a new minimum salary for teachers will help to fill some of those open positions and shows that Illinois has gotten on the right track to invest in our educators and our education system.”
“This $40,000 minimum salary legislation sends a message to future teachers that they are valued and respected in Illinois,” said Kathi Griffin, President of the Illinois Education Association. “This step is critical as we face growing teacher shortages and will allow us to attract and retain the very best teachers for our children. On behalf of 135,000 members of the Illinois Education Association and their students, I thank Gov. Pritzker and the Illinois General Assembly for their leadership.”
“We have a teacher shortage in our state, and research shows that fair compensation plays a major factor in a person’s decision to choose and stay in a profession,” said Dan Montgomery, President of the Illinois Federation of Teachers. “Too often new teachers struggle financially, and many are forced to work a second job to make ends meet. This legislation is a major step in improving starting salaries and paying teachers based upon their years of education, which will encourage high-quality professionals to enter and stay in the profession. We thank Senator Manar and Representative Stuart for advancing this much-needed bill and Governor Pritzker for signing it into law.”


Pritzker Signs Law Mandating $40,000 Salary for Teachers — 15 Comments

  1. A belated Happy 40th Anniversary of Disco Demolition Night at Comiskey.

    Illinois first and last finest moment.

  2. So if there’s a difference between what is paid now and mandate, who picks up the tab? Local or state?

  3. Now in 4 years the whole pay scale will have to be moved and don’t think the teachers unions won’t be angrily pushing for that during next contract season!

    Higher and Higher property taxes.

    An article just recently showing that about 75% of school budget in Woodstock are teachers salaries/benefits/pensions.

    Curious on what it is in other school districts?

    It is also a backdoor way to get higher income taxes from people to the state to help offset their deficits which is impossible.

    Worst part of it are the rural areas are going to get slammed the most with higher property taxes.

    Don’t be surprised to see rural Illinois School Districts go bankrupt!

  4. I was there, DJ.
    We killed disco.
    We helped save western civilization.
    Good times.

  5. Every time there is a salary increase for teachers at the bottom end of the wage scale, THE ENTIRE WAGE STRUCTURE FOR ALL THE TEACHERS INCREASES!!

    Along with those increases, pensions increase.

    Yes! The increased amount you pay in property tax for teacher wages will be taxed as income by the state which will increase the income tax collection by the state.

    Shame on Rezin for voting for this!!! She is toast!

    The approach of State Legislators such as Steve Reick to reduce property taxes by increasing the amount of State Collected tax dollars is an absolute insult!

    Tax is tax – no matter who or how it is collected.

    Where is the legislation requiring the City of Chicago to carry its own weight in public education taxes?

  6. Tie teacher’s salary to zookeepers bc that’s what they really do. Create animals through socialist/evolutionist doctrines.

  7. Reading some of the comments here is example enough that we need to raise salaries for teachers even higher so we have a better school system and a more educated society.

  8. Woodsy: Please give me one example where paying a teacher more money resulted in an improved product.

  9. Crazy. Teachers and their unions are a protected lot and should not be. If one is a “professional”, as teachers claim to be, then each of them should be responsible and capable to negotiate their own salaries based on their performance and results.

  10. The minimum salary law does not define salary and pay.

    Is it base salary only?

    Does it include stipends?

    Does it include pension pickups (board paid TRS) which hikes gross pay?


    The new minimum teacher salary law is a state mandate on local government (school districts are a type of local government).

    To the extent the state does not provide 100% funding to compensate the local school district for the pay hikes, it is an unfunded mandate.

    Another aspect of the law is the union will pressure the board / administration to jack up other cells in the pay grid, with the logic, early career teachers can’t make the same as teachers further along in their career.


    Democrat Governor JB Pritzker signed House Bill 2078 (HB 2078) into law as Public Act 101-0443 (PA 101-0443 on August 22, 2019.

    This new law, which increases the pay of the lowest paid public school teachers, will worsen the underfunded teacher pension problem.

    That’s because money which could have gone to reducing the pension debt, instead is going to increasing teacher pay.

    Increasing teacher pay results in increased pension contributions from the local school district and the state government, to the TRS teacher pension fund.

    Such action while pensions are already underfunded is a primary source of the underfunded pension problem.

    This is another chapter in book of increasing pay and benefits while pensions are already under funded.


    The Pension Problem

    The State annual contribution to the TRS teacher pension fund results from a state law and is lower than the actuarial required contribution.

    The TRS teacher pension fund is a fiscal disaster, as are the other four state run pension funds (SERS, SURS, GARS, JRS).


    Rather than reducing the pension problem, with this law the state worsened the pension problem.


    The state created laws over the decades resulting in a huge disparity of teacher pay and pensions, and a huge taxpayer obligation for pensions.

    The taxpayer obligation to the TRS pension fund (the unfunded liability) keeps growing and growing.

    The problem gets worse and worse.

    Illinois taxpayers are spending billions every year on pension interest, for which they get nothing in return.

    Pension interest increases the cost of government.


    The system of teacher compensation in Illinois results big pay disparity.

    For example, Angel Llavona received $137,020 pensionable income in 2018 as an English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher at Maine West High School in Des Plaines, which is in the Maine Township High School District 207 in Cook County.

    He is in the English Language Learner (ELL) and Bilingual Education Department at Maine West.

    That was his 24th year teaching.

    He will be eligible for full TRS Tier 1 pension benefits in his 35th year of service.


    The Sick Day Perk

    Years of service is almost always less than years worked for teachers and administrators who have worked many years in Illinois, since, for example, they can accumulate up to 340 sick days and exchange them for years of service.

    TRS considers 170 sick days to be a full year worked, even though the general rule is teachers work 180 days per year.

    180 days per year is 36 weeks, broken into two 18 week semesters.

    So exchanging 340 days for 2 years of service, he could retire after 33 years worked.

    But let’s take the worse case scenario for Mr. Llavona, and he retires after 35 years worked.

    He has already worked 24 years, and 11 years from 2018 is 2029.

    He is on track to be fully retired by year 2029.


    Starting Pension Calculation for TRS Tier 1

    The starting pension for TRS Tier 1 is 75% of the average of the highest 4 consecutive years worked in the last 10 years of employment.

    That’s generally 75%, of the average, of the last 4 years worked.

    Here’s how that works.

    Let’s say Mr. Llavona never gets another raise, and earns $137,020 per year in each of the next 11 years.

    His highest pay in four consecutive years out of his last 10 years would obviously be $137,020 per year in that improbably scenario.

    Here’s the starting pension calculation.

    $137,020 + $137,020 + $137,020 + $137,020 = $540,080.

    $540,080 / 4 = $137,020.

    $137,020 x .75 = $102,765.

    Mr. Llavona’s starting pension will be $102,765.

    It will increase 3% a year, which means it will double in his 24th year in retirement.


    McHenry County residents may think, so what, that’s a Des Plaines taxpayer problem.

    Well, not entirely true.

    Maine Twp HSD 2017 receives some taxpayer funding.

    But the bigger problem is the pension.

    A multi billion dollar annual contribution is made from the State to the TRS pension fund.

    Thus any McHenry County taxpayers paying taxes or fees to the state (state income taxes, etc.) will be contributing to Mr. Llavona’s pension.


    So Angel Llavona is earned $137,020 in his 24th year working, and is on track to receive an annual pension of at least $102,765, in a pension system that is less than 40% funded, yet the state believes other teachers are underpaid.

    So the State’s answer is to increase the pay of low paid teachers, increase funding to pay such teachers, but not address the pay and pension of those such as Mr. Llavona.

    There are all sorts of actions the State could take.

    Is an ESL teacher really worth the same as a calculus or physics teacher?

    Thanks to collective bargaining as it currently stands, the answer is largely yes.

    Can the pensions be diminished or impaired?

    Rhode Island did so.



    Instead of shuffling around existing money, the State’s answer is ever higher debt and taxes.

    A major problem with debt is interest.

    Illinois and the Federal government have major problems with debt and interest.


    There are school districts in McHenry County where some early career full time teachers are paid under $40,000.

    Generally they are smaller elementary districts.

    The pay is stipulated in the collective bargaining agreement.


    One problem with teacher collective bargaining agreements from a taxpayer perspective, is rank and file teachers get to approve the agreement, but taxpayers do not get to approve the agreement.

    Thus it is not a level playing field.

    The same is true of all collective bargaining agreements in Illinois (state workers, police, fire, public works, park district, city, etc.).

    Another problem is after the board / administration and rank and file union members approve the agreement, there are often changes made to the agreement to “finalize” it.

    The taxpayers typically are not allowed to see the agreement until those final changes are made, which could be months after the board / administration and rank and file union members approved the agreement.

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