(105 ILCS 5/21B-70)
    Sec. 21B-70. Illinois Teaching Excellence Program.
    (a) As used in this Section:
    "Poverty or low-performing school" means a school identified as a priority school under Section 2-3.25d-5 of this Code or a school in which 50% or more of its students are eligible for free or reduced-price school lunches.
    "Qualified educator" means a teacher or school counselor currently employed in a school district who is in the process of obtaining certification through the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards or who has completed certification and holds a current Professional Educator License with a National Board for Professional Teaching Standards designation or a retired teacher or school counselor who holds a Professional Educator License with a National Board for Professional Teaching Standards designation.
    (b) Beginning on July 1, 2011, any funds appropriated for the Illinois Teaching Excellence Program must be used to provide monetary assistance and incentives for qualified educators who are employed by school districts and who have or are in the process of obtaining licensure through the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. The goal of the program is to improve instruction and student performance.
    The State Board of Education shall allocate an amount as annually appropriated by the General Assembly for the Illinois Teaching Excellence Program for (i) application fees for each qualified educator seeking to complete certification through the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, to be paid directly to the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, and (ii) incentives for each qualified educator to be distributed to the respective school district. The school district shall distribute this payment to each eligible teacher or school counselor as a single payment.
    The State Board of Education's annual budget must set out by separate line item the appropriation for the program. Unless otherwise provided by appropriation, qualified educators are eligible for monetary assistance and incentives outlined in subsection (c) of this Section.
    (c) When there are adequate funds available, monetary assistance and incentives shall include the following:
        (1) A maximum of $2,000 towards the application fee
    
for up to 750 teachers or school counselors in a poverty or low-performing school who apply on a first-come, first-serve basis for National Board certification.
        (2) A maximum of $2,000 towards the application fee
    
for up to 250 teachers or school counselors in a school other than a poverty or low-performing school who apply on a first-come, first-serve basis for National Board certification. However, if there were fewer than 750 individuals supported in item (1) of this subsection (c), then the number supported in this item (2) may be increased as such that the combination of item (1) of this subsection (c) and this item (2) shall equal 1,000 applicants.
        (3) A maximum of $1,000 towards the National Board
    
for Professional Teaching Standards' renewal application fee.
        (4) (Blank).
        (5) An annual incentive equal to $1,500, which shall
    
be paid to each qualified educator currently employed in a school district who holds both a National Board for Professional Teaching Standards designation and a current corresponding certificate issued by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards and who agrees, in writing, to provide at least 30 hours of mentoring or National Board for Professional Teaching Standards professional development or both during the school year to classroom teachers or school counselors, as applicable. Funds must be disbursed on a first-come, first-serve basis, with priority given to poverty or low-performing schools. Mentoring shall include, either singly or in combination, the following:
            (A) National Board for Professional Teaching
        
Standards certification candidates.
            (B) National Board for Professional Teaching
        
Standards re-take candidates.
            (C) National Board for Professional Teaching
        
Standards renewal candidates.
            (D) (Blank).
    Funds may also be used for instructional leadership training for qualified educators interested in supporting implementation of the Illinois Learning Standards or teaching and learning priorities of the State Board of Education or both.
(Source: P.A. 99-193, eff. 7-30-15; 100-201, eff. 8-18-17.)