The Illinois Education Association, which claims 130,000 members, has made the repeal of last year’s cap of 3% on pensionable raises its main legislative item. The General Assembly adjourns in a week with no repeal as of yet.
Last week the IEA delivered what they said was 55,000 signatures to the legislature supporting the repeal.
The back story is that Democratic Party legislative leaders (Madigan and Cullerton) slipped the salary cap into last years budget bill at the last moment. Years ago Madigan pushed and got a 6% cap, claiming teachers were getting a spike in salaries to increase our pensions. Capping salaries – which included extra compensation for non-teaching duties – was supposed to solve Madigan’s concern with teachers getting good pensions.
But at a time when there is justifiable concern for teacher shortages, Madigan and Cullerton reduced pensionable raises again last year to 3%.
No district in the state could agree to a raise for veteran teachers above 3% without paying an enormous penalty.
The concern for teacher shortages led this session of the Democratic Party controlled General Assembly to consider a bill with three components: Eliminate the state teaching licensure test. Allow pay for student teaching. Repeal the 3% salary cap.
The bill passed the Senate.
Last week it passed the House but without the repeal of the 3% salary cap.
The House version now goes back to the Senate for concurrence. That means House representatives or Senate representatives must come to agreement on keeping or dropping the cap.
Nothing illustrates the legislative impotence of the IEA more than what it now appears to be their inability to deliver on their key legislative item for this session.
Remember that 55,000 “signatures” means that IEA members had to do nothing more than click a box on the IEA web site. The IEA couldn’t even mobilize more than half the members to click a box.
And what the IEA lobbyists are doing in Springfield is anybody’s guess.
Remember that when IEA members pay their dues, most of it goes, not to their local or to the NEA, but to the IEA, for lobbying efforts and to fight for the interests of teachers and public schools.