• lightfootOn the heels of a new era beginning in Illinois this year with a new governor, the City of Chicago has set a new course as well by electing Lori Lightfoot as its incoming mayor. Lightfoot is already reaching out to the General Assembly and was introduced by President John Cullerton in the Senate Thursday afternoon.

    In her comments, Lightfoot spoke to cooperation and shared concerns, saying solutions forged together should have resonance across the entire state. She is open and eager to work together.

    Lightfoot grew up in a union household and, having seen workers lose their pensions due to financial mismanagement, said she believes pensions are a promise and wants to work together to ensure these commitments.

  • School buses

    SPRINGFIELD – A set of measures designed to address Illinois’ teacher shortage crisis passed the state Senate Wednesday night, championed by State Senator Andy Manar, the plan’s sponsor.

    Senate Bill 1952 received bipartisan support and will go to the House for consideration.

    The measure contains the following provisions:

    • It reinstates the 6 percent cap for teacher salary increases to be covered by the state. Last year, lawmakers lowered the cap to 3 percent.
    • It removes the requirement that teachers must pass a basic skills test to be licensed.
    • It permits K-12 student teachers and early childhood student teachers to be paid.
    • It creates a refund program for teachers in underfunded, hard-to-staff school districts to recoup the cost of the teacher performance assessment.
    • It allows early childhood student teachers to be paid and receive credit.

    “We have to continue making changes to the things that are detrimental to the teaching profession and are driving would-be teachers to other states,” said Manar, a Bunker Hill Democrat. “I think this package is a necessary step, and I am excited that it contains excellent ideas that originated with teachers on the frontlines in schools throughout the state.”

    Illinois’ teaching shortage is more profound in rural and downstate communities, studies show.

    Last year, Manar passed a different set of measures to address the teacher shortage crisis, including slashing red tape to encourage educators outside of Illinois to apply for hard-to-fill jobs here, creating a short-term substitute teaching license and allowing downstate retired teachers to substitute in classrooms without jeopardizing their retirement benefits. The packaged was signed into law in June.

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  • 02052019 Manar Ed Comm SB10 002RSPRINGFIELD – An effort to update Illinois’ minimum mandated salary for teachers – one that could attract more young people to the profession by sending a message that their work is valued – was approved by an Illinois Senate committee Tuesday.

    Illinois has not updated its minimum mandated salary for teachers since 1980. For 38 years, state statute has required Illinois school districts to pay teachers with a bachelor’s degree a minimum salary of $10,000 ($9,000 for those without a bachelor’s degree). Based on decades of inflation, the minimum mandated salary today should be about $32,000.

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