New law welcomes retired teachers back to classroom

Mike Seals - May 4, 2021 10:49 pm

OKLAHOMA CITY – More of Oklahoma’s retired teachers can return to the classroom following the signing of Senate Bill 267 Monday. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Education Chair and Education Committee Vice Chair, Sen. Dewayne Pemberton, R-Muskogee, is the author of the bill to remove the earnings cap for retired educators who choose to return to the profession.

“Even after the two historic teacher pay raises, Oklahoma still had around 600 vacant teaching positions in 2019. We realized we had to do more to fill these crucial positions, and one of the most common suggestions we heard from our districts was lifting the earnings cap for retired educators who return to teaching,” Pemberton said. “This bill extends the exemption approved in 2017 to welcome these fine educators back to our schools without restricting their pay. With enrollment continuing to increase, this will allow districts to decide what to pay these professionals and fill their teaching vacancies.”

Currently, returning retired teachers can only make up to $15,000 a year. Under SB 267, those who were retired as of July 1, 2020, have received retirement benefits for at least one year and have not been employed by a public school during that period can return to the classroom for three years with no earnings cap.  

Rep. Jadine Nollan, R-Sand Springs, was the principal House author of the bill she said would be vital to addressing Oklahoma’s growing teacher shortage.

“This legislation provides a wonderful opportunity to put experienced teachers back in the classroom, which will greatly benefit our students,” Nollan said. “It will also help our schools fill their workforce needs.  Not only do our students and our schools benefit, but we are able to do this without impacting the teachers’ retirement or the pension system. It is a win for everyone.”

The new law will go into effect July 1, 2021.


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