Wolf Signs Bill to Fill Teacher Vacancies

Tom Wolf signed legislation last week to provide temporary relief to school districts dealing with a national shortage of substitute teachers.

The bill, authored by state Rep. Barbara Gleim, R-Cumberland, gives schools flexibility for filling classroom vacancies during the 2021-22 and 2022-23 school years. It allows retired teachers to fill teacher vacancies on an emergency basis. It also allows for those with out-of-state certificates to serve as substitutes for 20 days, or longer and doubles the time for those with inactive certifications to serve as substitutes, allowing them 180 days, as opposed to 90.

Schools may also use eligible college students and education graduates to act as substitutes. Those who are 25 years, or older and have at least 60 college credits, or three years of experience as paraprofessionals can work as "classroom monitors," after completing training.

The Pennsylvania State Education Association praised the legislation, saying "It's a step toward solving the shortage by expanding the pool of those eligible to fill the void."

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