Senate greenlights Manar’s teacher shortage package

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.