04122019CM0717SPRINGFIELD – Teachers will see an increase to their minimum salary under a new law sponsored by State Sen. Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) and signed by Gov. JB Pritzker.

“We’re facing a severe teacher shortage in Illinois and increasing their salaries is just one way we can attract and retain qualified teachers in this state,” Manar said. “We need to start taking this problem seriously and this legislation is a good step toward solving it.”

House Bill 2078 will increase the minimum salary for teachers to $40,000 over a four year period.

Illinois had not updated its minimum teacher salary since 1980. Since that time, state statute has mandated that that Illinois school districts pay teachers with a bachelor’s degree a minimum of only $10,000.

 “This is a long-needed change and I’m glad to see that both sides of the aisle came forward to support this legislation,” Manar said. “We’re showing that we value teachers in Illinois and that’s going to go a long way toward attracting qualified teachers in Illinois and convincing young people to consider a career in education.”

Under the measure, the state would update the minimum mandated salary for teachers annually over four years, beginning with the 2020-2021 school year. After that, subject to review by the General Assembly, it would be increased according to the Consumer Price Index. The phase-in would look like this under the proposal:

  • $32,076 for the 2020-2021 school year;
  • $34,576 for the 2021-2022 school year;
  • $37,076 for the 2022-2023 school year; and
  • $40,000 for the 2023-2024 school year;

The measure will go into effect January 1, 2020.

08202019CM0461

SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Andy Manar gathered with community members, veterans groups and the family and friends of Marine Lance Cpl. Charles Heinemeier in Bunker Hill today for a road naming ceremony in honor of the Vietnam veteran.

Earlier this spring, the Illinois General Assembly adopted Manar’s Senate Joint Resolution 9, which designates a stretch of Illinois Highway 159 between Detour Road and Illinois Route 16 in Bunker Hill as the “Lance Cpl. Charles Heinemeier Memorial Highway.”

“It can be far too easy for us to remain so focused on what’s going on in our own busy lives that we forget those who make it possible for us to live them,” said Manar, a Bunker Hill Democrat. “The sacrifices made by our veterans are the reason we have the freedoms we so often take for granted. That’s why it’s important for us to do things like we did here today.”

Charles Heinemeier was born in Alton on March 2, 1949 to John and Lela Heinemeier. He graduated from Bunker Hill High School in 1967, where he played basketball and baseball. Following his graduation, he worked in construction at McCann Concrete and the Olin Corporation.

Heinemeier enlisted in the U.S. Marines in May of 1968 and attended his basic training in California. Six months later, he was sent to Vietnam.

He was killed in action on August 21, 1969 while serving with the 1st Marine Division in Quang Nam, Vietnam.

Heinemeier was remembered by his fellow soldiers as having a positive attitude even in the midst of difficult circumstances.

“Your son was our morale booster,” Heinemeier’s commanding office wrote to his mother after his death. “We wouldn’t have made it through without him.”

He was posthumously awarded three Bronze Stars and the Purple Heart.

“Wherever he was, Lance Corporal Heinemeier made a positive impact in the lives of others,” Manar said. “It’s my hope that, by renaming this road, Lance Corporal Heinemeier’s sacrifice will not be forgotten.”

02212019CM0229SPRINGFIELD – Unions would have a greater say in issues that affect the wellbeing of workers thanks to legislation sponsored by State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) and signed into law by Gov. JB Pritzker Friday.

House Bill 2301 would require state regulatory boards impacting workers in Illinois to include a representative from a recognized labor organization. These board impact the Department of Employment Security, Department of Natural Resources and the Workers' Compensation Commission.

The boards and panels under these state agencies handle issues that directly impact the lives of Illinois workers, such as workers compensation benefits and workplace safety regulations.

“These groups make many of the difficult decisions that can significantly impact the physical and financial well-being of working men and women and their families in our state and it’s only fair that they get an appropriate say in those matters,” Manar said.

Manar introduced the legislation in response to former Gov. Bruce Rauner’s practice of stacking anti-union individuals to these bodies. The measure seeks to create an appropriate balance between interested parties on boards and commissions that impact workers combining both business and labor interests together.

“We’ve seen abuses of this in the past from the previous Governor and unlike specific individuals, labor unions represent the interests of hundreds of thousands of Illinois workers and, for that reason, it’s important that they have a seat at the table,” Manar said. “This change will make the process more inclusive and make these boards and panels more representative of the people of the state as a whole.”

The measure will go into effect January 1, 2020.

05012019CM1088SPRINGFIELD – Two pieces of bipartisan legislation sponsored by State Senator Andy Manar that are designed to help eliminate Illinois’ teacher shortage were signed into law by Gov. JB Pritzker this week.

On Tuesday, the governor signed Senate Bill 1952, which contains several provisions that are designed to recruit and retain qualified teachers in Illinois, including:

  • Removing the requirement that teachers must pass a basic skills test to be licensed;
  • Permitting K-12 student teachers and early childhood student teachers to be paid;
  • Creating a refund program for teachers in underfunded, hard-to-staff school districts to recoup the cost of the teacher performance assessment; and
  • Allowing early childhood student teachers to be paid and receive credit.

All of the contents of the bill originated from suggestions made by teachers in Manar’s 48th Senate District.

“It’s well documented that we’re having trouble attracting qualified teachers to Illinois schools and it’s time to change that narrative,” said Manar, a Bunker Hill Democrat. “As I drafted this legislation, I heard from teachers around the state about the problems they’re facing and I’m glad that we were able to come together to create this package and address these problems.”

On Friday, the governor signed Senate Bill 1460, which prioritizes National Board certification funding for hard to staff classrooms and creates incentives for National Board certified teachers to work in rural and remote areas.

Illinois’ teaching shortage is more profound in rural and downstate communities, studies show.

“This teacher shortage is creating a major barrier to providing students with the best educational opportunities available, and downstate communities like those I represent are bearing the brunt of this challenge,” Manar said. “These new laws are another step in the right direction as we fight to recruit and retain qualified teachers in Illinois.”

In addition to prioritizing these funds for high-need communities, the General Assembly also included a $500,000 increase to support for National Board certified teachers in the new state budget, on which Manar was a chief negotiator.

Last year, Manar passed a different set of measures to address the teacher shortage crisis, including slashing red tape to encourage educators outside of Illinois to apply for hard-to-fill jobs here, creating a short-term substitute teaching license and allowing downstate retired teachers to substitute in classrooms without jeopardizing their retirement benefits. The packaged was signed into law last June.

Both pieces of legislation will go into effect January 1, 2020.

 

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