Senator Hastings


SPRINGFIELD – To help alleviate the nationwide teacher shortage, State Senator Michael E. Hastings (D-Frankfort) supported the passage of a package of legislative measures to help recruit substitute teachers, teacher assistants and support educators in the classroom.

According to the Illinois State Board of Education, there are more than 4,000 unfilled positions in schools. Hastings believes a multifaceted approach is necessary to address the void.

“Like most states across the nation, Illinois is facing a teacher shortage,” Hastings said. “It is vital that we work with our schools administrators and teachers to help recruit and retrain staff to help educate and mentor the future leaders of our great state.

Hastings supported the following legislative measures:

  • Senate Bill 3915 – Would waive the application fee for short-term substitute teaching licensees when the governor has declared a disaster due to a public health emergency.
  • Senate Bill 3988 – Would lower the age requirement for teacher assistants from 19 to 18 for those who work in pre-K to eighth grade classrooms.
  • Senate Bill 3907 – Would allow short-term substitute teachers to teach up to 15 consecutive days instead of five for any one licensed teacher under contract in a school district. Additionally, if a teacher is absent for longer than six days, a school district would be able to hire a person holding a short-term teaching license if it is during a period of time in which the governor has declared a public health emergency.
  • Senate Bill 3914 – Would allow teachers to use two of their days as mental health days, and that if a teacher needs three or more mental health days, the school district would require a note from a mental health professional.

“Our state’s education system serves as a foundation of our children’s success,” Hastings said. “We are fortunate to have teachers in our local schools that work countless hours to provide students with the possibility for a better future. It is critical that we work toward giving educators the support and recognition that they deserve for the important work they do.”

These legislative measures passed the Senate with bipartisan support and are in the House of Representatives for further consideration.