Illinois Education Association Pushes Lawmakers To Lift The Cap On Teachers' Raises

Jim Gudas
January 17, 2019 - 9:24 am

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- The largest union representing teachers and school workers in Illinois is taking aim at a state rule, which puts a limit on raises teachers can receive toward the end of their careers.

Currently, state law places a three-percent yearly cap on raises for teachers in the final years of their careers to limit increases in their pensions.

Jim Reed of the Illinois Education Association said the cap discourages Illinois school districts from offering sufficiently high pay raises to retain and attract teachers at time when there's a teacher shortage.

"We have a teacher shortage of about 2,000 certified teachers, about 1,700 non-cerftified (teachers)," Reed said. "And so this does nothing to encourage districts to be able to fill that gap and hire qualified educators."

Supporters of the cap point to the cost savings, as well as the ability to limit big pay raises at the end of careers that can lead to big increases in pension costs.

Illinois lawmakers are considering bills to lift the cap.

The bills include Senate Bill 60, which was introduced by Sen. Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Plainfield), and House Bill 350, introduced by Rep. Kathleen Willis (D-Addison).

“The three percent limitation is a disincentive for school districts to offer any increase in compensation above 3 percent regardless of whether the educator goes the extra mile to be the best in their field and provide the best education for students,” said Kathi Griffin, IEA president.