February 17, 2022

BIPARTISAN LEGISLATION TO ADDRESS COLORADO’S RURAL TEACHER AND STAFF SHORTAGE PASSES COMMITTEE

DENVER, CO – The House Education Committee today passed bipartisan legislation to address the critical school staff and teacher workforce shortage in rural Colorado by a vote of 8 to 1. HB22-1101, sponsored by Representatives Barbara McLachlan and Marc Catlin, would allow retirees to return to rural school districts experiencing a critical shortage of staff without a reduction to their PERA benefits.

“This bipartisan legislation aims to boost our teacher workforce by allowing retired staff to return to the classroom in rural school districts experiencing a critical teacher shortage,” said Rep. Barbara McLachlan D-Durango. “We know our rural schools are also experiencing a workforce shortage that goes beyond the classroom which is why this bill extends provisions to paraprofessionals and school nurses. We’re making huge strides towards providing rural school districts with the resources they need to prepare their students for success and move Colorado forward.”

If passed, HB22-1101 would continue a program currently set to expire next year that allows retired teachers, school bus drivers and food services workers to return to work without a reduction in their PERA benefits. This bill would make the program provisions permanent and allow qualified PERA retirees to return only to rural school districts experiencing a critical workforce shortage.

Rural school districts are suffering from an extreme labor shortage that extends beyond the classroom. In addition to teachers, HB22-1101 would allow retired food service cooks, paraprofessionals, school nurses and school bus drivers to return to their rural school districts within two years of retirement.