SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Christopher Belt advanced a measure through the Senate Education Committee Tuesday that would help address the ongoing teacher shortage in Illinois.

“Illinois is facing a crisis when it comes to recruiting and retaining qualified teachers, particularly in underserved communities,” said Belt (D-Swansea). “We need to address this issue so our children have access to quality education.”

House Bill 3801 would provide retention bonuses of $4,000 per year, for two consecutive years to teachers who are National Board Certified who are employed in hard-to-staff schools. A hard-to-staff school is a public school that no less than 30% of the student enrollment is considered low-income. Becoming a National Board Certified teacher is a career continuum for those that starts in pre-service teacher preparation, leading aspiring teachers to pursue and achieve National Board Certification.

This measure aims to provide an incentive for teachers to work in underserved areas, as these are the areas that are most affected by the current teacher shortage.

“Our children’s futures are at stake when we aren’t able to find well-equipped teachers,” said Belt. “We cannot sit back and do nothing. The time is now to address this issue that affects us all.”

House Bill 3801 passed the Senate Education Committee and will head to the full Senate for further consideration.