In an effort to help address the shortage of teachers in Illinois, Rep. Dan Caulkins (R-Decatur) has put forth a piece of legislation.
Caulkins submitted House Bill 4382, which would facilitate easier return to the classroom for teachers who had previously retired but wish to return to a teaching position.
According to Herald & Review, Illinois had a shortage of roughly 5,200 teachers at the beginning of the school year. While the desire may exist for teachers to return to the classroom, a high penalty for renewing the required educator license was a real deterrent for teachers.
A constituent of Caulkins said that she was being charged $500 to renew her teaching license, which Caulkins was upset to hear.
“Charging retired educators a $500 penalty to return to the classroom when there is a teacher shortage seems to be counterintuitive,” Caulkins said in a statement. “The state should not be in the business of penalizing retired teachers that want to come back and help educate our next generation.”
HB 4382 proposes that teachers only be charged $10 per year a teacher's license has lapsed when they wish to return to work, with a maximum penalty of $100.
According to WANDTV.com, Caulkins sees a great deal of upside to getting teachers back to work sooner with fewer hurdles.
"The sooner we make it easier for retired teachers to return to the classroom, the better off we will be," Caulkins told WANDTV. "We should encourage experienced educators to return to the classroom rather than penalizing them for allowing their teaching license to lapse."
Jim Bachman, the executive director for the Illinois Retired Teachers Association, said in a statement that any and all obstacles preventing retired educators from returning to work should be dismantled.
The legislation, which was filed at the end of January, will now wait to see its fate before the House Rules Committee.