News: Quick Takes

Bipartisan Senate bill would let retired teachers work in troubled schools

A new Senate bill would allow retired teachers to go back to work at high-need schools.

Senate Bill 399, “Rehire High-Need Teachers,” would let educators who are at least six months into retirement take jobs at schools that receive D or F grades under the state’s school performance rankings. Teachers wouldn’t give up pension benefits, and they could earn an additional salary of $35,000, with higher salaries of $40,000 going to teachers of science, technology, engineering, math, or special education.  

The legislature has raised teacher salaries several times over the past few years, but is “still seeing the need for more teachers in certain schools around the state,” Senate leader Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, a primary sponsor of the bill, said in a news release.

S.B. 399 is a bipartisan effort, with Sen. Jay Chaudhuri, D-Wake, and Sen. Rick Horner, R-Nash, also signing on as a primary sponsors.

More than 1,400 failing schools in North Carolina receive Title I funds from the federal government, The News and Observer reported last week. A number of those schools were given D and F grades from the state, the report said.

Anything lawmakers can do to get qualified teachers into struggling schools is good news, said Terry Stoops, director of research and education studies at the John Locke Foundation.

“If the bill is approved, I suspect that many retired teachers will want to return to the classroom,” Stoops said. “And school administrators will welcome the option to hire retired teachers that possess the skills, knowledge, and talent needed to raise student achievement in low income schools.”