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Bill would let more retired teachers return to classroom

Posted: Thursday, February 28, 2002

JUNEAU (AP) -- Legislators are considering letting teachers who retired early come back to work in Alaska schools. The measure is an attempt to help ease teacher shortages some districts are facing.

The House Special Committee on Education passed the bill Wednesday.

''It doesn't solve all the teacher recruitment problems, but it is another tool districts may use if they choose,'' said Committee Chairman Con Bunde, R-Anchorage.

The Legislature last year passed a law allowing some retired teachers to return to work, but not those who had taken advantage of retirement incentive programs. House Bill 416 would remove that exclusion.

The bill would let districts hire those retired teachers at the same salary they'd offer a teacher coming in new to their district.

Teachers who came back to work could continue receiving their retirement benefits, but not accrue new years of credit in the retirement system. Or the teachers could choose to quit receiving retirement benefits and accrue additional years of credit.

Terri Campbell, legislative liaison for the Department of Education and Early Development, said she doesn't expect a flood of teachers to return, but the bill is one option districts might use to ease shortages.

Jackie Fenno, program manager for Alaska Teacher Placement, said a nationwide teacher shortage is making it difficult for Alaska to recruit and keep staff.

The state had more than 1,400 teaching jobs open this fall, and still has 100 positions unfilled, Fenno said.

The bill next goes to the Health Education and Social Services Committee.



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