Bill allowing retired educators to substitute longer awaits McKee’s signature

THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY has passed a bill temporarily suspending the limit on the number of days retired public school teachers and administrators can substitute without losing post-retirement benefits. The measure now heads to Gov. Daniel J. McKee's desk. / PBN FILE PHOTO
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY has passed a bill temporarily suspending the limit on the number of days retired public school teachers and administrators can substitute without losing post-retirement benefits. The measure now heads to Gov. Daniel J. McKee's desk. / PBN FILE PHOTO

PROVIDENCE – The General Assembly has passed legislation that would temporarily suspend the limit on the number of days retired public school teachers and administrators can substitute without losing post-retirement benefits.  

The House voted Tuesday on the final version that included Senate amendments removing entirely the 90-day cap and mandating that school districts attest that they have been unable to find other qualified educators to fill open positions and have “made a good faith effort” to do so, according to the legislative language. 

The bill now goes to Gov. Daniel J. McKee’s desk for final approval. Calls to a McKee spokesperson were not immediately returned Tuesday afternoon. 

Currently, state law limits the practice to 90 days per school year, which many retirees have already reached. The previous House version extended the limit to 120 days.

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In a joint statement Tuesday, the bill’s sponsors celebrated the approval while noting it will not solve the teacher shortage. 

“Our state is facing a significant shortage of qualified teachers and this troubling fact poses a real threat to the quality of education received by some of our state’s students,” said state Rep. William O’Brien, D-Providence. “This bill will allow seasoned and experienced retired teachers to provide even more support in the classroom to help the dedicated but significantly short-staffed teachers and our students who deserve qualified, quality teachers.” 

Primary sponsor Sen. Bridget Valverde, D-North Kingstown, called the legislation a “stop-gap measure to address a problem that needs long-term planning and investment.”   

“Our state must do better to make teaching a profession that people want to enter, stay in and advance in,” she said. 

The legislation, unless extended by the General Assembly, would sunset on June 20, 2024. 

Christopher Allen is a PBN staff writer. You may contact him at Allen@PBN.com 

 

 

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