Caulkins files bill to address teacher shortage

With over 5,200 teaching positions reported open in Illinois during the fall of 2019. State Representative Dan Caulkins (R-Decatur) filed legislation to make it easier for retired teachers to return to the classroom.

“We have a teacher shortage not only in central Illinois, but the state as well,” said Rep. Caulkins. “Charging retired educators a $500 penalty to return to the classroom when there is a teacher shortage seems to be counterintuitive. The state should not be in the business of penalizing retired teachers that want to come back and help educate our next generation.”

Rep. Caulkins filed legislation to reduce the penalty for renewing the Professional Educator License at the request of his constituent after learning she had to pay a $500 penalty in order to renew her educator license. Caulkins constituent, a local educator whom retired after teaching for 20 years before taking a break, recently considered coming back to teach mathematics.

House Bill 4382 introduced by State Rep. Dan Caulkins provides for the reinstatement of a lapsed Professional Educator License upon payment by the applicant a $10 penalty for each year the license has lapsed, with the maximum penalty of $100. Under current law, if an individual’s educator license is expired, the individual would have to pay a $500 penalty to reinstate their license.

Caulkins added, “The sooner we make it easier for retired teachers to return to the classroom, the better off we will be. We should encourage experienced educators to return to the classroom rather than penalizing them for allowing their teaching license to lapse.”