Utah may have a shortage of teachers in the classroom, but thousands of former teachers who have left public education and let their licenses expire are still out there. And one lawmaker aims to get some of them back.

Friday morning the Senate Education Committee passed a bill out that would remove the hurdles in reinstating expired teaching licenses.

"As we look at data in the state we see that by the fifth year of teaching we lose a lot of educators — many choose to stay home once they have kids but when they seek to come back must complete 200 license points, " said Rep. Ronda Rudd Menlove, R-Garland, sponsor of the bill. "(Relicensure) is costly not only in terms of money but in terms of time.

She said the measure would allow former teachers to come back to the classroom by paying the licensure fee and having a back ground check. Then after securing a job at a school the teacher will be required to sit down with the principal and be evaluated regarding what the teacher needs to do to be up to speed — through professional development or other means. Then the teacher will be required to complete the professional development plan laid out by the principal.

According to Menlove, there are around 28,000 teachers, who are younger than 65, in Utah with licenses that are not being used or that have expired. The bill would provide a way that would help bring a number of those teachers back and comes with no fiscal note.

The State Office of Education, the Utah School Board's Association and the Utah Superintendents Association support the measure and removing the requirements of "going through a lot of hoops."

"The teacher shortage is real and (the bill) would help this immensely," said Steve Peterson, spokesman for USBA. "When a teacher has taught eventually they are going to want to go back to the classroom and be with the kids — there is nothing more rewarding."


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