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Governor signs bill to remove earnings cap for retired teachers returning to the classroom

Governor signs bill to remove earnings cap for retired teachers returning to the classroom

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A measure that will allow more of Oklahoma’s retired teachers to return to the classroom has been signed by Gov. Kevin Stitt.

Senate Bill 267 removes the earnings cap for retired educators who choose to return to the profession.

The measure’s author is Sen. Dewayne Pemberton, R-Muskogee, who is the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Education chairman and Education Committee’s vice chairman.

Rep. Jadine Nollan, R-Sand Springs, was the principal House author of the bill, which she called vital to addressing Oklahoma’s growing teacher shortage.

Pemberton said: “Even after the two historic teacher pay raises, Oklahoma still had around 600 vacant teaching positions in 2019. We realized we had to do more to fill these crucial positions, and one of the most common suggestions we heard from our districts was lifting the earnings cap for retired educators who return to teaching.”

At present, returning retired teachers can make only as much as $15,000 a year. Under SB 267, those who were retired as of July 1, 2020, have received retirement benefits for at least one year, and have not been employed by a public school during that period can return to the classroom for three years with no earnings cap.

“This bill extends the exemption approved in 2017 to welcome these fine educators back to our schools without restricting their pay,” Pemberton said.

Nollan added: “This legislation provides a wonderful opportunity to put experienced teachers back in the classroom, which will greatly benefit our students. It will also help our schools fill their workforce needs.

“Not only do our students and our schools benefit, but we are able to do this without impacting the teachers’ retirement or the pension system,” she said. “It is a win for everyone.”

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