Under legislation passed on Tuesday, Georgia’s most experienced retired teachers might return to schools where they are most needed while receiving their pensions.
The final ratification of House Bill 385 by the state Senate achieves Gov. Brian Kemp’s aim of expanding the teaching workforce stated last year.
It would allow those teachers who have been out of the classroom for a year after teaching for 30 years to work full-time while receiving their pension for a year. It would be permitted only in curriculum areas and sections of the state designated by the Georgia Department of Education as “areas of greatest need.”
Retirees can currently work up to 49 percent of full-time hours.
Rep. Shaw Blackmon, R-Bonaire, introduced legislation to address teacher shortages as a result of a wave of retirements and a reduction in interest in the profession among college students. Although there have been shortages in certain parts of the United States, they have not been as severe in Georgia.
Kemp pushed for this expansion last year when he signed another pipeline bill into law. This Act supported attempts to develop an alternate certification path for war veterans, mentor teachers, enforce additional training requirements in universities, and recruit more minority college students to teach.
The teacher of the year was also appointed to the Georgia Board of Education as an advisor.
Bills impacting state pensions must sit for a year after introduction during a two-year parliamentary session, according to regulations, to provide time to examine the impact. After clearing the House 169-0 in February, HB 385 cleared the Senate 50-1 on Tuesday. It’s currently on its way to Kemp for signing. If he signs it, it will be in force from July 1 through June 2026.