Illinois governor vetoes bill to raise minimum salary for teachers

Illinois governor vetoes bill to raise minimum salary for teachers
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Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) vetoed a bill Sunday that would have raised the minimum salary for teachers from $9,000 to $40,000 within five years.

In vetoing the bill, Rauner said he preferred tying pay increases for teachers to performance and incentives.

“Teachers are our greatest asset in ensuring the future of our youth and they deserve to be well-compensated for their hard work,” Rauner wrote in his veto message, according to the Chicago Tribune.

“However, minimum pay legislation is neither the most efficient nor the most effective way to compensate our teachers," Rauner wrote.

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“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,” Rauner continued.

When the legislation narrowly passed the state Senate in May, Republicans expressed concerns that it would have put struggling communities, particularly rural ones, under undue financial burden, according to Illinois News Network.

Democrats insisted that the bill would bring much needed funds to teachers.

State Sen. Andy Manar (D), who sponsored the bill, said Sunday that he was “disappointed” with the governor, according to the Chicago Tribune.

“Refusing to guarantee professional educators a livable minimum wage is no way to lure more teachers to Illinois,” Manar said in a statement. “I’m disappointed in the governor’s veto, and I know thousands of dedicated, hard-working, creative educators throughout the state are too.”

Rauner has clashed with teacher interest groups before. The governor cheered the Supreme Court’s decision against public-sector unions in June, calling public-sector unions inherently political.

According to the Chicago Tribune, the current minimum salary for Illinois teachers was set at $9,000 in July 1980.