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Pennsylvania House of Representatives
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House Co-Sponsorship Memoranda

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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: January 9, 2017 06:20 PM
From: Representative James R. Roebuck, Jr.
To: All House members
Subject: Substitute Teacher Shortage
Substitute teachers play a vital role in maintaining momentum and continuity in the classroom. When students’ regularly assigned teachers are unavailable due to illness, hiring shortages, or professional development needs, substitute teachers help fill in the gaps so student learning is not interrupted.

When substitutes are not available, many schools rely on other teachers to fill in during their prep periods – time that should be dedicated to thoughtful planning, professional collaboration or other academic preparation. When neither substitutes nor a teacher on a prep period are available, students must do without a teacher in their classroom for a day, a week or even longer. Without a pool of consistently available, qualified substitutes, schools can become caught in a frenetic – and expensive – game of catch-up throughout the year and students pay the price.

This is why I plan to introduce legislation that would allow retired teachers to return to the classroom to serve as day-to-day or long term substitutes for up to 90 days without interruption of their PSERS retirement benefit. This legislation would mirror current law that allows state employees to return to service for a certain period of time without affecting their SERS retirement benefits.

Last session we passed into law Substitute Teaching Permit language in Act 86 of 2016, which allows student teachers to work as substitute teachers in certain circumstances, this was a first step toward providing or school districts with much needed human capital.

I urge you to co-sponsor this next step in the movement to improve substitute teacher availability across the Commonwealth.

Previous Co-sponsors: V. Brown, Bullock, Caltagirone, Costa, D, Davis, Freeman, Gillen, James, Kinsey, Lewis, Longietti, Millard, Milne, Murt, Nelson, O’Brien, Phillips-Hill, Readshaw, Rozzi, Savage, Schemel, Schlossberg, Sims, Thomas

Introduced as HB361