Senate approves bill to encourage retired educators to return to classroom
Mike Seals - March 3, 2021 10:33 pm
OKLAHOMA CITY – The Senate voted in favor of legislation Wednesday that will help attract retired teachers back to Oklahoma classrooms. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Education Chair and Education Committee Vice Chair, Sen. Dewayne Pemberton, R-Muskogee, is the author of Senate Bill 267 that he says is desperately needed to address Oklahoma’s continuing teacher shortage.
SB 267 authorizes former teachers, who were retired as of July 1, 2020, and have been receiving retirement benefits for at least one year and haven’t been employed by any public school during that time, to return to the classroom for three years with no earnings cap. Currently, retired teachers can only be paid up to $15,000, but Pemberton said with this bill districts will be able to determine these educators’ pay.
“This important legislation extends the exemption we passed in 2017 to provide a meaningful pathway for retired teachers back to the classroom as we continue facing a significant teacher shortage. It expired last year, so it’s imperative that we get this signed into law and back on the books,” Pemberton said. “Although positive steps have been taken to reduce Oklahoma’s teacher shortage, many districts are still struggling to find qualified educators to fill teaching positions as student enrollment continues to climb. This will again welcome these outstanding professionals back to the classroom without restricting their pay.”
According to the Oklahoma State School Board Association (OSSBA), there were nearly 600 teaching vacancies at the beginning of the 2019 school year.
SB 267 will now be assigned to a House committee for further consideration. Rep. Jadine Nollan, R-Sand Springs, will serve as the principal House author.
For more information, contact: Sen. Pemberton: (405) 521-5533 or [email protected]