News from the Alaska State Legislature, the Office of Senator Micciche
For Immediate Release: May 11, 2018

Legislature Provides School Districts with Tool to Fill Vacancies

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JUNEAU – The Alaska Legislature this week passed a bill allowing school districts to temporarily fill vacancies with qualified retired teachers.

SB 185, sponsored by Sen. Peter Micciche (R-Soldotna), provides school districts with an additional staffing option until a permanent teacher can be hired, helping school districts maintain quality education while balancing their budgets.

“Alaska’s school districts are facing staffing challenges,” said Sen. Micciche. “Currently, Alaska is experiencing a shortage of qualified educators, especially in remote communities. As state budgets continue to be reduced, it is important that districts are given adequate tools to hire qualified, appropriate educators, even during challenging times.”

SB 185 allows school districts to re-employ retired educators to fill short-term needs. Retirees who are re-employed under these new allowances will continue to receive retirement benefits during the period of reemployment. School districts will still be required to contribute to the Teachers Retirement System at the same rate that districts contribute for active employees.

“This is a nationwide issue and we don’t expect to rebound any time soon,” said Sen. Micciche. “SB 185 is a critical tool for local school districts to keep experienced educators in front of Alaska’s children while they continue their efforts in hiring the best and brightest new teachers to fill empty positions.”  

Rep. Jennifer Johnston (R-Anchorage) carried SB 185 in the House as well as the companion HB 224.

“Passing SB 185, builds on the theme of finding low cost, innovative solutions to problems facing our school districts,” said Rep. Johnston. “It allows our administrators another tool to meet their staffing needs without significantly impacting the state budget. This gives experienced teachers the opportunity to continue to enrich the lives of students while also providing mentorship to new teachers joining this important profession.”

SB 185 also has support from the Alaska Council of School Administrators (ACSA). The ACSA released the following statement in support.

“On behalf of the ACSA and the students they serve, we thank Senator Micciche for carrying SB 185. Retire/Rehire will make a difference where it matters most – with Alaska's educator shortage, it is going to put Alaskan educators in Alaskan schools and classrooms with Alaska's students. We appreciate the bold leadership and bi-partisan work that went into this bill and also thank Representative Johnston for carrying the companion bill in the House. It is an example of good education policy – doing what is right for students and supporting public education in a way that will make an immediate impact.”

SB 185 passed the Senate unanimously and passed the House by a vote of 37 to 1, for a combined vote of 56 to 1. The bill now goes to the governor’s desk to be signed into law.

For more information, contact Senate Majority Press Secretary Daniel McDonald at (907) 465-4066.

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