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House committee gives initial OK to bill that would let districts hire retired teachers

The House K-12 education committee signed off on a Senate bill today that would let districts hire retired teachers to work in high-need schools without that employment impacting their retirement benefits.

The bill would allow districts to start hiring retired teachers for one-year terms starting this coming school year and would let these teachers work at Title I schools or schools that get a D or F on the state’s school performance grades. 

“You’re going to see next year how this is going to impact your school,” said Sen. Rick Horner, R-Nash, a sponsor of the bill.

Depending on whether one of these teachers was teaching a regular class or a STEM class, they could make anywhere between $35,000 and $40,000. They would also be entitled to the district’s local supplement. 

“Which can be quite substantial for these folks,” Horner said. 

Horner said the idea behind the bill was to get some of the effective teachers who have left the profession back in the classroom. 

Rep. Hugh Blackwell, R-Burke, wondered how the bill would guarantee the teachers hired were effective. 

“Is there anything in the bill that attempts to limit it to those who might be considered well qualified as opposed to someone who is less effective?” he asked.

Horner said the decision would be up to the district superintendent. 

“That’s exactly where it rests, with his good judgement,” he said. 

The bill only applies to teachers who have retired as of February 1, 2019, and the teacher can’t be rehired until they have been retired at least six months. 

Horner was asked about the fact that the bill sets an end date for this practice as of June 30, 2021. Horner said that date can always be pushed by lawmakers.

“Caution says we can always extend this,” he said. “We just want to see the response.”

The bipartisan bill — sponsored by both Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, and Senate Minority Whip Jay Chaudhuri, D-Wake,  in addition to Horner — has already passed the Senate. 

It goes next to the House rules committee and then to the pensions committee.

Alex Granados

Alex Granados is senior reporter for EducationNC.