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California Department of Education
New release

California Department of Education
New release

Issue: #23-25
April 19, 2023

Senate Bill 765 (Portantino) Addressing the Teacher Shortage Crisis unanimously approves Senate Education Committee

SACRAMENTO — State Superintendent of Public Education Tony Thurmond testified before the Senate Education Committee today in support of his bill to address the teacher shortage. Senate Bill (SB) 765, written by Senator Anthony Portantino, offers viable and comprehensive solutions to the current teacher shortage by making it easier for retired teachers to return to the classroom while providing financial incentives for those who wish to become teachers.

“Senate Bill 765 is important legislation that will enable our schools to meet the immediate needs of students by allowing long-qualified teachers to return to the classroom and offering long-term solutions that include removing financial barriers to entry to combat the teacher shortage in California,” said State Superintendent Thurmond. Teacher shortages are a growing national problem exacerbated by COVID-19, and California is no exception. Moving this law forward is a huge step in the right direction to address one of the most pressing problems facing California public education.”

According to the California Commission on Teacher Certification (CTC), there were more than 10,000 teacher vacancies across California during the 2021-22 school year. SB 765 provides a much-needed solution to this crisis by allowing retired CalSTRS members to return to a teaching position in a faster manner and with greater consistency. The bill removes the requirement to “sit out” for 180 days — under certain circumstances — before a retiree can return to a teaching position and raises the cap on CalSTRS compensation on retiree earnings.

“California is facing a major teacher shortage, and it’s time we invest appropriately in our schools and our teachers,” Senator Portantino stated. This requires long-term solutions, including making it easier for retired teachers to return to teaching positions and facilitating the entry of aspiring teachers into the workforce. Too many teachers are leaving the classroom, and we need to step up our efforts to ensure this does not negatively affect the quality of education that our children deserve.”

Principal Joey Sundberg of Valley View Elementary School in the West Contra Costa Unified School District testified in today’s hearing. “In my twenty years of teaching, I have never seen the high level of vacancies or absences that I do now,” said Sundberg. “I sought to fill vacancies with retired teachers who were willing to work, only to be told they were still on a 180-day waiting period or had reached their earnings cap and couldn’t step in. The SB 765 will go a long way in removing barriers for those who want Complete For service and those who want to enter the profession as well.

The bill requires local educational agencies to provide documentation of their needs as well as the eligibility of a retired member before that retired member can begin service. These provisions will enable local education agencies to quickly and efficiently fill vacancies with experienced and qualified teachers, thereby ensuring that our students have access to the resources they need to succeed. The bill is consistent with previous efforts that provided greater flexibility to retired CalSTRS members to help with pressing staffing shortages and that have proven to be effective tools in addressing such shortfalls in the past.

In addition, SB 765 expands the CTC Teacher Residency Scholarship to provide additional incentives for prospective teachers and waives the financial need requirement to award $1,000 Cal Grant Awards to students pursuing a teaching career. These measures will help strengthen California’s educator workforce and provide much-needed support to students.

The bill passed the Senate Education Committee unanimously and now moves to the Senate Labor, Public Employment, and Retirement Committee.

State Supervisor Thurmond’s advocacy to address the teacher shortage helped secure a record $3.6 billion in investments over the past four years that are designed to improve teacher recruitment, retention and training in California. Thurmond launched the first-ever statewide campaign in support of teacher hiring and created a single point of entry for candidates to get information about becoming a teacher in California and how to get a $20,000 scholarship.

Anyone interested in learning how to become a teacher in California can email [email protected] or visit the California Department of Education’s Become a Teacher webpage.

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Tony Thurmond – State Superintendent of Public Education
Communications Department, Room 5602, 916-319-0818, Fax 916-319-0100

Last revised: Wednesday, April 19, 2023