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New Tennessee law allows retired teachers to return to classrooms, keep benefits

Posted at 6:25 AM, Jul 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-20 15:50:43-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF)  — Retired teachers in Tennessee can return to work while keeping their retirement benefits.

Gov. Bill Lee recently signed off on the law and officials hope it will help fill vacancies across the state.

A NewsChannel 5 analysis shows more than 1,000 teacher openings during the first week of July in Middle Tennessee. During the 2021-2022 school year, the state had 1,024 unfilled vacancies, according to data from the Tennessee Department of Education. From that same school year, the state issued 1,354 permits, which give a person an emergency credential to teach in the classroom without any teaching license.

This new law will allow retired teachers to keep benefits and allow them to sign a one-year contract.

Before the law took effect, retired teachers could return to work for a maximum of 120 days.

Now they can resign each year until the law ends in 2025 and fill a full-time or substitute position.

The Professional Educators of Tennessee projects by the time the new school year starts there will likely be 2,000 teaching job openings across the state.