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There’s also a shortage of substitute teachers in Illinois, which, should be alleviated by House Bill 5627. That law allows people with an associate's degree to get a short-term substitute teaching license. Brent O’Daniell, superintendent of Genoa-Kingston District 424, said the license, which allows subs to teach for five consecutive days, is a godsend. His district had a number of prospects who didn’t meet the previous requirements.
“Not just teacher recruitment, but substitute teacher recruitment has become a bigger and bigger part of public school education,” O’Daniell said.
He recalled having as many as 100 applicants for jobs in years past. A posting for a business teacher this past summer turned up three candidates.
“These days, it’s not a matter of them finding us, it’s a matter of us finding them,” he said. “We are on the path to recovery, but we’re an awful long ways down that road, and it’s going to take a while to get back to where we were before.”
More legislation signed earlier this month by Gov. Bruce Rauner, however, should help matters, as well.
Senate Bill 2658 changes the lifespan of teaching licenses with stipulations for military spouses from two years to three. House Bill 4742 allows school districts to contract a third party for substitute teacher searches. House Bill 5196 will reduce the licensure fee for teacher’s aides from $50 to $25.
Rauner did, however, veto a bill Sunday that would have raised the minimum salary for teachers from $9,000 to $40,000 in the next five years. While that might help school districts’ bottom lines, it won’t help lure talent from other states.
The state’s cracked financial picture was already tough to overcome before Rauner shot down the bill.
“Everybody knows Illinois is struggling financially, so that’s creating a draw to look to Wisconsin or Iowa,” Craven said.