Missouri bill would allow retired teachers to work longer

Published: May. 16, 2023 at 4:19 AM CDT
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QUINCY (WGEM) - For districts suffering from a teacher shortage, the state of Missouri allows retired teachers to teach full time up to two years, while retaining their retirement benefits.

The legislature passed a measure to increase the number to 4 years, which makes a difference for schools struggling to hire teachers.

Superintendent John French of the Lewis County C-1 School District said the critical shortage clause, which allows retired teachers to work, has been a big help for their district.

French said they employ two retired teachers under this clause. He said the way the clause is worded, it’s spelled out in months rather than years, so they employ them for months at a time during the school year. This allows the school district to utilize them for longer. He said bumping it up to four years can really make a difference for rural districts who struggle to hire teachers.

“I’ve used critical shortage in each of the last three districts I’ve been in to fill hard to fill spots in science, in mathematics, even in special education before. So that has always been an avenue that has been very much needed for the smaller schools,” French said.

He said retired teachers tend to be familiar with the community they work in and can work with students closer to help them succeed.

He said it also allows them to offer classes they wouldn’t otherwise be able to.

Highland Highschool Principal Susan Rossmiller said they have struggled finding teachers, and retired teachers have helped fill upper level math courses such as calculus and trigonometry. She said an advantage with retired teachers is they are able to teach dual credit classes to students.

“We do have other teachers here at the high school that also meet that requirement that can teach dual credit classes for us. But over the years that has become more difficult to meet that dual credit requirement that our teachers can also teach and meet the college requirements through the higher ed commission,” Rossmiller said.

French said teachers have to get their masters in the subject before they can teach dual credit. He said it would help if they helped make the process easier for teachers to get their masters so they can continue to offer dual credit courses.

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