Bill to attract retired teachers back to classroom passes committee

Mike Seals - February 18, 2021 10:20 pm

OKLAHOMA CITY – Hundreds of Oklahoma teaching positions are empty, and a 2017 statute allowing retired teachers to return to the classroom with no limitations on earnings expired June 30, 2020. The Senate Retirement and Insurance Committee unanimously approved Senate Bill 267 Thursday to extend the earnings exemption through 2024.  Senate Education Committee Vice Chairman, Sen. Dewayne Pemberton, R-Muskogee, authored the bill to ensure those retired educators in public school districts and career techs can continue working and get paid fairly.

“Oklahoma classrooms are in desperate need of teachers for math, science and other important subjects. Legislation was filed last session to extend this exemption for our retired teachers, but it was one among many bills that didn’t make it through when the pandemic shortened the session,” Pemberton said. “I want to thank my colleagues for supporting Oklahoma’s public schools by helping get these outstanding professionals back in the classroom.”

SB 267 provides for members of the Teacher Retirement System (TRS) who retired as of July 1, 2020, and received retirement benefits for at least one year to be reemployed by a school district with no limitations on earnings, provided the teacher was not employed in a school district during the one-year period. The three-year exemption begins July 1, 2021 and applies to retired educators in common and career tech school districts.

The measure was requested by the State Department of Education and other education organizations around the state.

“We’re pleased to see this bill advance as it can help tackle Oklahoma’s significant teacher shortage. This issue was a real concern before the pandemic, but it’s expected to become more pronounced after this school year,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister. “Allowing retired teachers to come back to the profession without an earnings cap gives these experienced and much-needed educators a meaningful pathway back to the classroom.”

SB 267 now goes before the full Senate.


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