February 16, 2022

BIPARTISAN BILL TO BOOST TEACHER WORKFORCE PASSES HOUSE

DENVER, CO – The House today passed bipartisan legislation to address the teacher workforce shortage and prepare Colorado students for success. HB22-1057, sponsored by Representatives, Barabra McLauchlan and Mary Bradfield, would waive limitations on the number of days retired teachers can work as substitute teachers when there is a critical substitute teacher shortage. The bill passed by a vote of 63 to 1.

“The passage of this bill means we’re one step closer to addressing the critical substitute teacher storage and preparing our students for success,” said Rep. Barbara McLachlan D-Durango. “Pandemic pressures have been incredibly tough on teachers in our rural and underserved communities, this bipartisan legislation would temporarily waive PERA limitations on qualified, retired teachers and allow them to return to the classroom without fear of losing their benefits. We’re serious about using every tool at our disposal to prepare our students for success and move Colorado forward.”

If passed, HB22-1057 would temporarily waive the limitations set by the public employees' retirement association (PERA) regarding the number of days qualified service retirees can substitute teach. Under current limitations, if retired teachers work over the number of allotted days, their PERA benefits are reduced. The bill temporarily lifts the waiver until July 1st, 2025. Additionally, qualified service retirees can teach in any school district while there is a critical substitute teacher shortage in Colorado.

Colorado is facing a significant teacher shortage. During the 2020-2021 school year nearly 13% of teacher positions were filled through a shortage mechanism and more than 200 positions went completely unfilled statewide. This bill aims to incentivize retired teachers to help with shortages by making it possible for them to substitute teach without the fear of losing their PERA benefits.