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July 1, 2024

Hamrick, Hansen Bipartisan Law to Boost Educator Workforce Goes Into Effect

DENVER, CO - Bipartisan legislation goes into effect today to boost Colorado’s education workforce. HB24-1044, sponsored by Representative Eliza Hamrick and Senator Chris Hansen, allows school districts to hire more Public Employee Retirement Association (PERA) retirees, without the risk of the retirees losing their retirement benefits.

“Colorado’s educator shortage is dire and our students deserve quality education,” said Eliza Hamrick, D-Centennial. “To address our educator shortage, we need to use every tool available to us. With our new law going into effect, more retired educators and staff are able to return to the schools, without the risk of losing their PERA retirement benefits. This will encourage retired teachers to return to the classroom and help our schools and most importantly – our students.” 

“Colorado schools are facing a critical shortage of teachers, which results in larger class sizes and fewer students getting the individualized attention they need,” Senator Chris Hansen, D-Denver, said. “Allowing more retirees to return to the classroom without jeopardizing their hard-earned PERA benefits will get more qualified teachers and staff into our schools and help more students get the quality education they deserve.”

HB24-1044, also sponsored by Representative Rick Taggart, R-Grand Junction, expands the number of service retirees that school districts may hire while still being eligible for PERA benefits. Specifically, school districts can exceed the current 10 retiree cap by 1 retiree for every 1,000 students above 10,000 students. 

Under current law, school districts may only hire retirees when a “critical shortage of qualified instructors” is established. This law aims to streamline placing educators in classrooms by instead allowing school districts to hire up to 10 retirees if the district identifies a “need” for additional instructors.

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