BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — Louisiana needs 2,500 more teachers to close the gap in the teacher shortage. Shreveport native and Baton Rouge Representative Rick Edmonds believes his new bipartisan-sponsored bill will help.
Rep. Edmonds introduced House Bill 22, which will provide for the re-employment of retired teachers to address the critical teacher shortage in Louisiana.
“I know we have to do something,” he said. “And this is, again, this is a step”
Rep. Edmonds had three key points in his bill.
“One is we are working with the retirement board, we put a sunset on it because we know this is not a long-term thing. Second thing that it does, [is] it does not encourage people to retire so that they can, as the state would say, double-dip. Third thing that we done is that instead of that, they can earn right now 25 percent of their best three years — this bill allows it to go to 50 percent.”
He believes that this legislation will not close the shortage gap but does believe it will help bring in teachers.
“I think it will help some. This is not an ideal situation,” Rep. Edmonds said. “We would love for our people to retire and we wouldn’t need them to teach anymore but right with the shortage that we have and we don’t have anywhere to draw from. I think this is a helpful step for the short-term.”
The bill will be sent to committee for debate in the next couple of weeks.
Rep. Edmonds stated why he believes it has a shot, “I think this bill has a great opportunity to pass. I believe that the governor will sign it because I do believe that this is something bipartisan we all agree we must do something this session. And I believe with my colleagues, I think we will get it done.”