Legislation to Reimburse Tuition for Public School Teachers Passes Illinois House | Illinois

(The Center Square) — In an effort to address the state’s teacher shortage, legislation has been passed by the Illinois House that reimburses tuition for public school teachers.

Eligible teachers could be reimbursed for tuition at a public college or university for up to 10 years under Bill 4139.

The bill’s sponsor, State Rep. Sue Scherer, D-Decatur, said there’s never been a more serious time for teacher shortages.

“Something is happening in the state of Illinois and across the United States, where we have the most severe teacher shortage in the history of our country,” Scherer said.

Teachers continue to be in high demand in Illinois, with nearly 90% of schools reporting they are experiencing staffing shortages, according to new research released by the Illinois Association of Regional Superintendents of Schools.

The study shows that 88% of school districts surveyed in Illinois said they believed they had a shortage of teachers and 96% said they had a shortage of substitute teachers.

State Rep. Avery Bourne, R-Morrisonville, said she’s concerned some funds may end up in the wrong hands.

“You could come from a very wealthy family that pays the tuition, and then state taxpayers’ money would reimburse the student for the tuition that they themselves didn’t pay,” said Bourne said. “It’s actually a less fair way of encouraging students to enter the education profession.”

The measure passed by a vote of 70 to 42 and is now going to the Senate.

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