Statehouse roundup, 2.21.17: House Education passes early retirement bill

In front of a committee room packed with school trustees, the House Education Committee on Tuesday advanced a bill designed to make it easier on retired teachers to return to the classroom.

Lance Clow
House Education Committee members Rep. Lance Clow (right) and Rep. Paul Shepherd.

If passed into law, House Bill 113 would lower the age from 62 to 60 when retired teachers could return to work without seeing a reduction to their retirement benefits.

Under existing Idaho laws, educators are able to retire at a comparatively early age if they meet length of service requirements.

Although the bill is likely to affect only a small group of teachers, supporters say it could make a big difference to small school districts struggling to fill positions.

The bill’s sponsor, Twin Falls Republican Rep. Lance Clow, said passing the bill would remove one more barrier that districts face in hiring qualified teachers.

“Started hearing about potential teacher shortage and started caring about teachers leaving the state — taking retirement (in Idaho) and going to work in another state,” Clow said. “I just started thinking ‘Why don’t they retire here and continue to work?’”

Several hundred school trustees participating in the Idaho School Boards Association’s Day on the Hill activities nearly filled the 317-capacity Lincoln Auditorium where the meeting took place.

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ISBA Communications and Government Affairs Director Jessica Harrison lobbied for the bill’s passage.

“ISBA is supportive of any effort to relieve the burden of the teacher shortage currently facing Idaho,” Harrison said.

House Bill 113 next heads to the House floor with a recommendation it pass.

Check back with Idaho Education News later Tuesday for more Statehouse news.

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