When the Democratic legislature and Bruce Rauner finally agreed on a full year state budget in his third year in office they included a salary cap of 3% on teachers.
The cap was hidden in the bill – not by the Republicans and Bruce Rauner – by Democratic Party legislative leaders.
The budget, including the salary cap, was passed with full support of the Democrats.
The Democrats, when pressed, explained that they needed something to get Republicans on board to pass a budget.
Naturally, what came to mind was capping teacher salaries.
The Senate has now voted to repeal the 3% teacher salary cap. It is stalled in the Democratic Party controlled House.
What are they waiting for? They have no excuses now.
Meanwhile Democratic Party governor JB Pritzker continues to support a three year pension payment holiday.
He wants to reduce the state’s pension payments by over $800,000 a year for at least the next three years and extend the pension debt payment ramp by 7 years.
He has the support of powerful Democratic Senator Andy Manar.
Manar has recently been parading around as a friend of teachers because he sponsored a bill raising the state’s minimum wage for teachers to $40,000 a year.
The Illinois Education Association even gave him the Friend of Education award at their recent state convention.
The minimum wage had been $10,000 a year. No district in the state pays starting teachers $10,000 a year.
I think the legislature was just embarrassed having that on the books.
Like the state’s recently passed $15 an hour minimum wage which will take six years to achieve, the $40,000 minimum teacher pay will take four years to phase in. The average starting pay for teachers in Illinois is currently $39,000.
Some consider the Manar bill a nothing burger. While poor districts downstate pay far less than suburban Cook County, four years is a long time to wait considering the reason Manar claimed for raising the minimum pay was as a response to the state’s pressing teacher shortage.