Lawmakers said last spring that new teachers in Illinois made on average about $39,000 a year. And the average teacher salary in the state was $64,516 in 2017, according to the Illinois State Board of Education. But those salaries also largely depend on where in the state these teachers work. The cost of living in Chicago and the suburbs, for example, is significantly higher than downstate, so higher salaries are necessary.
State lawmakers shouldn’t set wages for specific industries in general. And selecting a publicly funded industry with an influential voting bloc during an election year is an even worse choice. Pandering never looks good. What’s next? Setting minimum salaries for municipal or township or county employees?
“[That] approach to teacher compensation both limits a school district’s local control and imposes a significant unfunded mandate on school districts,” the governor wrote in his veto message.
School boards agree that it’s a bad idea.