Louisiana: The First Barrier For A Bill To Alleviate Teacher Shortages Has Been Overcome

Louisiana’s Senate committee on Monday adopted a plan that would enable some teachers to return to the classroom while still receiving their full retirement benefits in response to the state’s acute teacher shortage.

Only about a quarter of what they’ll get in retirement may be earned by teachers under present standards.

Senators on the Senate Retirement Committee approved the bill, Senate Bill 434. Thereafter, if approved by the Senate Finance Committee it will go to the entire Senate for consideration.

Only a few other ideas have been floated as teachers seek to fill openings in a broad variety of fields.

Thirty percent fewer high school students want to become teachers, while the number of former teachers returning to work has dropped by 61 percent since 2010.

Sen. Cleo Fields’ (D-Baton Rouge) bill, which was supported Monday, would only apply to instructors who are credentialed in math, science, English/language arts, and special education.

It would also include substitute teachers for teachers who are on maternity, military, or extended sick leave.

At least a year of retirement and no incapacity were required for the instructor to return.

The present regulation confines retired teachers to 25 percent of their final average income, which was defined as little higher than their yearly pension.

Louisiana Association of School Superintendents Executive Director Michael Faulk remarked, “Teacher shortage is the issue everybody in school systems” is grappling with.

The new guidelines would be in place for a period of three years after their implementation.

There are now 1,854 certified job openings in California, according to the state Department of Education, and that number may rise to as much as 2,500 by the start of the school year in 2022-23, according to Faulk.

He informed the committee that he expects the number of vacancies to grow as a result of increased teaching requirements.

There was no response from the TRSL Board of Trustees to a bill authored by Senator Fields, a member of the Senate Education Committee.

This bill was opposed in committee on Monday because it would enable teachers and other school employees to return to work immediately without losing their retirement benefits. Senate Bill 419 was discussed in committee on Monday.

As a result of a dearth of drivers, according to the bill’s author, Sen. Stewart Cathey Jr., R-Monroe, superintendents are driving school buses.

Ex-teachers may work in both the public and private sectors, according to Keith Courville, executive director of the Associated Professional Educators of Louisiana, which supports Cathey’s measure.

A reference to existing state legislation, Courville added, “And no one cares until I want to go back to public service and teach,” 

In the eyes of some, Cathey’s bill was flawed since there was no waiting time and the risk that it would lead to early retirements and put stress on the retirement system.

The committee did not take action on the legislation, which implies that its future is unknown.

Teachers would be able to earn 50% of what they now get instead of 25% under several comparable legislation awaiting action in the House.

Chris Broadwater, VP of workforce policy for the Louisiana Community and Technical College Systems (LCTCS), said any retire/rehire law should address college shortages, particularly for nursing professors.

Broadwater, a former member of Congress, remarked, “This is not just an issue for the K-12 systems,”




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