Sen. Christopher Belt

SPRINGFIELD – Illinois has faced a teacher shortage in recent years, which encouraged State Senator Christopher Belt to champion a new law to address this ongoing issue.

“As an advocate for quality education and the well-being of our students, I am always looking for ways to confront issues that negatively affect our state’s schools,” said Belt (D-Swansea). “We should be attracting educators to our schools, not pushing them away. They deserve more from us.”

The new law will provide retention bonuses of $4,000 per year, for two consecutive years to teachers who are National Board Certified and are employed in hard-to-staff schools. A hard-to-staff school is a public school that no less than 30% of the student enrollment is considered low-income. Becoming a National Board Certified teacher is a career continuum for those who start in pre-service teacher preparation, leading aspiring teachers to pursue and achieve National Board Certification.

The law aims to provide an incentive for teachers to work in underserved areas, as these are the areas that are most affected by the current teacher shortage.

“Teachers play an irreplaceable role in shaping the minds and futures of our children,” said Belt. “By prioritizing measures that attract, retain and support qualified teachers, we are investing in the success of our students and empowering educators while doing so.”

House Bill 3801 was signed Friday and takes effect Jan. 1, 2024.