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Legislators back plan to help cover teacher shortages

SPRINGFIELD – Under legislation introduced by state Sen. John Sullivan, D-Rushville, downstate school districts that have been unable to fill teaching vacancies will be able to hire qualified, recently-retired teaches.

The legislation, Senate Bill 3374, passed the Senate with bi-partisan support by a 51-0 vote, Wednesday.

“If there is a teaching position that a school is unable to fill, students should benefit from qualified, experienced teachers who are already living in the community,” Sullivan said.

The legislation allows retired teachers – who are still certified – to teach in subject shortage areas while still maintaining their eligibility for retirement. Retirees would be exempt from making contributions or receiving any new pension benefits.

Before retirees can return to teaching, the school must have advertised the position for at least three months preceding the beginning of the school term. Additionally, the school district must offer vacancies to qualified teachers who had been honorably discharged during the previous school year.

Senate Bill 3374 now moves to the House.

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