- Associated Press - Saturday, November 7, 2015

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Kansas school administrators have asked lawmakers to consider changing a program for hiring retired workers to help alleviate staffing shortages.

Lawmakers during the last legislative session changed a program called Working After Retirement, which gives limited authority for employers in the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System to hire retired workers who are already drawing a pension if younger workers cannot fill certain jobs.

Before the new law, retired workers could be hired, but those workers were limited to earning up to $20,000 a year before they either had to quit the job or forgo their KPERS benefits for the rest of the year. Employers that use the program, however, must also make higher payments into the KPERS system.

Under the bill enacted this year, the earnings cap was raised to $25,000 starting July 1, 2016. Re-employed teachers in the five most hard-to-fill subject areas can work for up to three years, and school districts can apply for a one-year extension if they have advertised the position widely but have not been able to hire qualified candidates.

Two groups of Kansas school administrators, the United School Administrators of Kansas and the Kansas School Superintendents Association, told members of the the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Pensions, Investments and Benefits on Wednesday that some districts, particularly in rural areas, continue struggle to recruit qualified teachers, The Lawrence Journal-World reported (http://bit.ly/1XSylxY ).

They said the income cap should be raised beyond $25,000 and suggested establishing a standard procedure to apply for the one-year “hardship” extension rather than filing their requests directly with the committee.

“In light of the difficulty we had this past year in hiring, I think it could be very important down the road,” said Glen Suppes, superintendent of the Smoky Valley school district in Lindsborg. “I think it’s kind of sad that we have to have those provisions in place.”

The committee agreed to a motion by Sen. Jeff King, R-Independence, that the panel include in its final report to the 2016 Legislature a “strong recommendation” to consider the suggested changes to the hardship extension.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide