With schools across Illinois struggling to fill vacancies and hire substitutes, State Senator Tom Bennett (R-Gibson City) has advanced legislation to help willing and experienced retired teachers to help fill some of the gaps.
“This bill is designed to help schools cover vacancies, particularly with substitute teachers, by making it easier for retired teachers to step back in to classrooms and put their experience to work for students,” said Bennett. “This will provide one more tool to our schools to make sure they can staff classrooms and provide the best education possible.”
Senate Bill 1468, filed by Bennett, would allow teachers who are receiving retirement benefits to accept employment as teachers for up to 150 days or 750 hours per school year through 2025, and a maximum of 100 days or 500 hours in 2026 and thereafter.
Senator Bennett will be filing an amendment to change from 150 days to 120 days through 2025.
In addition to the teacher shortage, schools are also facing increasing challenges with their schedules, trying to meet requirements while dealing with emergencies.
Senate Bill 1470, also filed by Bennett, would allow schools to use remote learning days instead of emergency days, for a maximum of 5 days per school year.
“This will provide some additional flexibility to our local schools to maintain schedules, meet staffing requirements, and handle whatever emergencies may arise,” said Bennett. “I believe we need to empower our school districts to deal with the numerous challenges they face, so they can focus on their core mission of educating children.”
Both Senate Bill 1468 and 1470 were advanced by the Senate Education Committee on March 7 and now await votes by the full chamber.