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Floridians Struggle to Rehire Retired Teachers in the Face of a Critical Shortage!


CNS NewsIn Florida, lawmakers are thinking about a bill that would make it easier for former teachers to get back to work. Under Senate Bill 1482, former teachers and other school workers who took part in the Deferred Retirement Option Program (DROP) would not have to be out of work for six months before they could start a new job.

Teachers can put their retirement benefits into a trust fund through DROP. While they are still working, the money grows with interest. People who retire in Florida while using the plan, on the other hand, have to wait six months before they can go back to teaching. With SB 1482 gone, teachers who want to go back to work wouldn’t have to wait six months.

The text of the bill doesn’t talk about a new time cap on when retired employees can take on a new job. The law would go into effect on July 1, 2024, if it is put into law. Another bill like this, HB 1097, was sent to the Florida Senate last year. In January of this year, Democratic Representative Jennifer “Rita” Harris introduced SB 1482.

The number of people living in the area is growing at the same time that there aren’t enough staff, Harris said, according to a report from the cable news station Spectrum News 13. “So, I feel like this is something we can apply short term to get people in while we try to figure out the longer strategy.”

Floridians Struggle to Rehire Retired Teachers in the Face of a Critical Shortage!

Newsweek reached out to Harris for a reaction outside of normal business hours through her website’s contact form. A lot of job openings have been mentioned in the education field. There are 4,096 open teaching positions and 3,457 open support staff positions in Florida schools, according to the Florida Education Association, the state’s biggest professional workers’ group.

This is because we are in the middle of the school year. The group said in a report on January 17 that there was a shortage of more than 4,000 teachers, which is more than the number of teachers in 19 of Florida’s smallest counties put together. “Four thousand teacher vacancies means that there are potentially hundreds of thousands of students in Florida who do not have access to a full-time teacher.”

The problem hasn’t gone away. Newsweek’s coverage in 2023 showed how bad the teacher shortage was in Florida. There are many reasons why there aren’t many new teachers being hired and a lot of teachers leaving their jobs.

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“We’ve all heard the governor’s talking points about how he invests in teachers and education, but the governor won’t tell you the truth about education in Florida, which is that our state ranks 48th in the nation for average teacher salary, 43rd in the nation for per-student spending, and doesn’t even make the top 10 for average teacher starting salary or average teacher salary.”

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