05042017CM1433WebResizeGURNEE – Lake County schools will have a new tool available to help them alleviate the substitute teacher shortages thanks to State Senator Terry Link (Vernon Hills).

House Bill 4742, which will allow the use of recruiting firms to help find substitute teachers, was signed into law Saturday and takes effect immediately.

“The substitute teacher shortage has immediate consequences for the quality of education our children receive in Lake County schools,” Link said. “This new law will help us recruit qualified teachers to guarantee students receive the best possible educational possibilities.”

Previously, Illinois law did not allow a school district to contract with a recruiting firm to find substitute teachers. The new law simply does away with the outdated prohibition. It takes effect on Jan. 1, 2019.

“Recruiting firms are a modern method to employ workers. Giving our school districts another tool to fill temporary positions will help ensure children do not miss out on vital learning opportunities,” Link said.

In order to qualify for the program, a district must demonstrate to ISBE that due to its substitute teacher shortage it is unable to find an adequate amount of substitute or retired teachers and has exhausted all other efforts.

All substitute teachers provided by a recruiting firm must follow all mandated state laws, rules and screening requirements and be paid on the same wage scale as other substitute teachers not provided by the firm. Link said this will help ensure teachers are fit to be in the classroom.

One in five Illinois teaching positions previously have gone unfilled. Experts claim that licensure requirements have led to a smaller pool of available teachers and substitutes.

Link also supported House Bill 5627, which will ease restrictions to ensure more qualified teachers – such as licensed out-of-state educators – are available to Illinois schools.

“We need excellent educators in our classrooms,” Link said. “These new laws will work to reduce unnecessary barriers to becoming an educator and help Illinois see an influx of teachers in schools across our communities.”

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