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July 27, 2001

Ryan Signs Bill to Address Teacher Shortage

SPRINGFIELD -- Governor George H. Ryan today signed Senate Bill 1293, addressing a statewide teacher shortage by temporarily increasing the amount of time a substitute may spend teaching in a single school district.

"This bill is one we're taking to help curb the teacher shortage throughout Illinois," Governor Ryan said. "Now certified individuals will be allowed additional days to meet the needs of hard to staff schools and teaching positions."

Current law provides that a substitute teacher may teach only for a period not to exceed 90 paid school days or 450 paid school hours in any one school district during a school term. As a result, many school districts are finding it difficult to find substitute teachers to fill this shortage.

Effective immediately, a substitute teacher holding an early childhood, early elementary, high school, or special certificate will be able to teach for 120 paid school days or 600 paid school hours during the 2001-2004 school years.

During the first two years of Governor Ryan's administration, more resources have been directed into the classroom, resulting in nearly 9,000 more teachers being hired, especially in the lower primary grades. Public school enrollments in Illinois are expected to increase by 17 percent over the next decade.

The Ryan Administration's efforts center on the encouragement and recruitment of teachers, as well as the on-going development of teachers.

Governor Ryan created an advisory panel on teacher quality to address teacher retention, recruitment and quality. He convened a task force to forge alternative routes to teacher certification for engineers, scientists and other professionals to bring their expertise into the classroom. The Governor has allocated $100 million over two years to hire new teachers statewide, $1.5 million for pilot professional development program for teachers and $2.5 million in scholarships for high school seniors who pledge to teach for five years after they graduate from college.

Illinois was one of five states to receive a $2.5 million federal Gates Grant to help improve the knowledge and skills of school administrators and is one of 15 states to receive national support for its State Action for Educational Leadership Project, to develop methods of strengthening leadership. The Joint Education committee has developed and adopted the Unified Education Policy Plan: Quality Educator Workforce to recruit, prepare and retain quality candidates while providing continuous professional development for Illinois teachers and administrators.

SB 1293 was sponsored by Senator Dan Cronin, R- Elmhurst; and Representative Jerry Mitchell, R-Sterling.


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