Sen. Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant

PLAINFIELD – Illinois now has a new law in place to help address the teacher shortage by allowing retired teachers to return to the classroom without coming out of retirement, thanks to Illinois Senate Education Chair Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood).

Bertino-Tarrant’s championed House Bill 1472, which addresses findings that 89 percent of Central Illinois districts and 92 percent of Southern Illinois districts have issues with staffing teaching positions with qualified candidates. The law was signed on Friday.

“Our retired teachers should not be penalized for returning to classrooms to help our school districts meet their needs,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “We want teachers in our classrooms with experience in the profession to help ensure our children are receiving a strong education.”

Some districts are turning to substitute teachers while looking for permanent teachers. To help ease unnecessary stipulations on retired teachers looking to fill these substitute roles, House Bill 1472 will allow retired teachers to return to teaching in subject areas with teacher shortages without jeopardizing their retirement status. This measure is extending the current provision for two years.

Bertino-Tarrant is leading the way to help alleviate the effects of substitute and full-time teacher shortages in Illinois. This nationwide epidemic is resulting in more school districts turning to retirees to lead classrooms for long periods of times. It’s unclear how many open positions statewide are being filled by long-term substitute teachers.

“School districts across the state continue to struggle to fill long-term positions at schools,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “There are reliable and experienced retired teachers who are helping administrators fill in the gaps to ensure students are not losing out on educational opportunities.”

Bertino-Tarrant is planning on hosting a series of round tables with educators, administrators and other stakeholders to help create meaningful solutions to alleviate the teacher shortages in Illinois. She looks forward to the productive conversations and leading the Senate’s Education Committee in finding solutions that meet the needs of classrooms across the state.

“The most important investment we can make as a state is in our children,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “I look forward to finding long-term solutions to end the teacher shortage in Illinois.”

The bipartisan measure will go into effect immediately.