IL rural schools fear higher wages for teachers could lead to cuts

GOREVILLE, IL (KFVS) - A bill is on the desk of Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner that could potentially increase the minimum wage of teachers in the state to $40,000 a year.

Most superintendents would say that this still isn't enough to pay teachers what they really deserve, however for smaller schools it could be unfeasible to pay them that much.

If the bill is signed as it's written, schools would have four years to gradually increase teachers salaries to $40,000.

Some superintendents say it takes a number of years for some teachers in the area to make that much.

Superintendent of Goreville Unit Schools Dist. 1, Steve Webb, said if more rural schools were to pay teachers that much money, it would take better education funding from the state for that to be possible.

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"As long as we rely on property taxes to fund our schools and have schools that are spending over $20,000 per child and small schools in our rural areas that must scrape everything they can just to pay around 8 or $9,000 per child," Webb said, "We'll never be able to have one uniform salary that is adequate enough to pay them what they deserve."

Webb said his district has 42 teachers with starting salaries in the upper $30's. He believes that if this bill becomes law they will have to make some adjustments, however, they don't believe they would have to make any job cuts.

For smaller school districts, he fears that without more funding there could be a number of jobs lost to keeps up with rising wages.

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