Losing teachers early means losing millions for stateSpringfield has had to cut funding each year. The Illinois Board of Education started the mentoring program to help improve teacher retention in 2008. Keeping new teachers can save millions said State Superintendent Christopher Koch. "To me, we need them supported for two years,” Koch said. “And you're trying to get them to surpass that five year mark." But a program which served more than 4,000 teachers was eliminated to save the state $5 million to keep school doors open. A study by the Alliance for Excellent Education released in July shows poor teacher retention can cost the state between $32 million and $70 million each year. “With any policy issue, prevention is going to be less expensive than dealing with it later on,” Koch said. “And I think that's true with the issue of retention as well."