Shorewood state lawmaker’s bill to help ease teacher shortage OK’d by committee

Bill would waive the fee for a short-term substitute teaching license during a public health emergency

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A local state lawmaker’s bill aimed at helping schools deal with the teacher shortage is one step closer to becoming law.

This week, the Senate Education Committee passed Sen. Meg Loughran Cappel’s bill to waive application fees for short-term substitute teaching licenses, according to a news release. Loughran Cappel, D-Shorewood, is vice chairwoman of the committee.

“Staffing is one of the most important, if not the most important, challenge that our schools are facing during this awful pandemic,” Loughran Cappel said in a statement. “We have a responsibility to do all we can to ensure our students have access to teachers, and it’s my goal to get them there.”

There are more than 4,000 unfilled school positions, according to the Illinois State Board of Education. Loughran Cappel said her measure would waive the application fees for the licenses when the governor has declared a disaster because of a public health emergency.

The application fee is $25 for short-term substitute teaching licenses.

“We need teachers in classrooms,” Loughran Cappel said, “This has been a huge burden on our school districts, and this legislation will help get qualified individuals back in schools to educate our children.”