Rauner vetoes bill raising Illinois minimum teacher salaries

Rauner vetoes bill raising Illinois minimum teacher salaries

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Gov. Bruce Rauner

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner delivers his State of the State address at the Capitol in Springfield on Jan. 31, 2018. (Rich Saal/The State Journal-Register via AP)

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has vetoed a bill that would have raised the minimum salary for full-time public school teachers to $40,000 within five years.

Legislators approved the bill in May that would have increased the minimum full-time teacher pay, saying it would help attract and keep more teachers.

The bill would have increased minimum pay to $32,076 for the 2019-2020 school year, $34,576 for 2020-2021, $37,076 for 2021-2022 and $40,000 for 2022-2023.

Rauner said 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 said districts should consider steps such as merit pay and extra money for teachers in difficult-to-staff schools or subjects.

"Things like pay-for-performance, diversified pay for teachers in hard-to-staff schools or subjects, or pay incentives for teachers with prior work experience are all viable options to provide greater compensation for teachers," the governor wrote in his veto message.

Democratic state Sen. Andy Manar of Bunker Hill, who sponsored the bill, said he was disappointed with the decision.

"Refusing to guarantee professional educators a livable minimum wage is no way to lure more teachers to Illinois," Manar said in a statement.

Democratic gubernatorial nominee J.B. Pritzker said Rauner is denying pay raises to educators while the state is facing a growing teacher shortage.

State lawmakers could try to override Rauner's veto when they go back to Springfield after the November election.

Illinois law lists the minimum salary for a teacher at $9,000, which took effect in July 1980.

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