Gov. Bruce Rauner has a vetoed bill that would have given public school teachers an annual minimum salary of $40,000 over the next five years.
Legislators approved the bill in May for increasing the minimum full-time teacher pay, saying the step would help attract and keep more teachers. It would have made next school year's minimum pay about $32,000.
Rauner says he vetoed the bill Sunday because the minimum pay is an inefficient way to compensate teachers and is an unfunded mandate on school districts. The Republican governor says districts should consider steps such as merit pay and extra money for teachers in difficult-to-staff schools or subjects.
Democratic gubernatorial nominee J.B. Pritzker said Rauner is denying pay raises to educators while the state is facing a growing teacher shortage.
“Tonight’s veto further demonstrates Bruce Rauner’s disrespect for teachers, staff, and the work we do,” Illinois Federation of Teachers (IFT) President Dan Montgomery, a high school English teacher, said in a statement Sunday. “The IFT supported this effort to increase teacher pay, though it was just one piece of the puzzle to attract and retain the educators our students deserve. We must also fund programs to recruit, support, and diversify our workforce. In addition, we must show teachers more respect by reforming public policy, making retirement security attainable for new teachers, and providing supportive school environments with smaller class sizes, support personnel, and important courses like the arts and vocational training.
"A good leader would embrace these commonsense approaches to address the teacher shortage and strengthen our public schools, but Bruce Rauner failed once again.”