TAMMS, IL (KFVS) - A bill is making its way through the Illinois state legislature that could mean higher pay for the state’s teachers.
Senate Bill 10 has already passed in the State Senate and is currently in front of the House. It suggests raising teachers salaries to $40,000 minimum starting pay by 2024.
Many school districts in southern Illinois in more populated county’s already pay their teachers at least $40k a year, however, in more rural counties, this bill could make a big difference.
A big difference for people like Danielle Burford, a 5th grade teacher at Egyptian School in Alexander County.
“I think that would be great,” she said. "Currently I do not make $40,000 in this area.”
Burford said she’s still fairly new to teaching. Right now she’s finishing her second year on the job. She said she was a teacher for a year down in Savannah, GA.
Even though she’s new to the job, she knows how hard teachers have to work to give our kids a good education.
“Most any teacher I know gets here before they have to, they stay later than they have to, they come in on weekends, they come throughout the summer,” Burford said.
Burford likes the idea of a salary increase, especially when she thinks about all the school supplies she buys her kids throughout the year. However, she does fear the consequences higher salaries could bring.
“There could be cuts throughout the school,” she said, “we have music, we have art, we have P.E.. All of those positions could be cut.”
She also fears children will be put into larger classrooms with fewer teachers to split them up.
All things considered, Burford thinks the current law for minimum teachers salaries in Illinois is unjust, and thinks it’s time the laws support teachers.
“The current minimum for teachers’ salary is $10,000 in the state of Illinois,” she said. "So I definitely think something needs to be done with that, and $40,000 is a great place to start.”