Retired Illinois teachers allowed to substitute more without hurting pension

Retired teachers can work more hours without impacting their pension
Retired teachers can work more hours without impacting their pension(WGEM)
Published: Apr. 29, 2022 at 5:19 AM CDT
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QUINCY (WGEM) - A new Illinois measure aims to address the state’s ongoing teacher shortage.

Amidst the teacher shortage, retired teachers have stepped up to fill in the gaps but they can only work a certain amount of hours before it impacts their retirement status on their pension.

That limit used to be 600 hours but a new measure signed into law by Governor J.B. Pritzker would raise the limit to 700 hours.

Quincy Public Schools personnel director Lisa Otten said with the demand for teachers increasing, those hours fill up fast. She said increasing the limit from 600 hours to 700 hours can make a huge difference for the district and students.

“The longer a sub can work the more continuity that classroom has,” she said. “The classroom sub can be in there for a longer amount of time, potentially fill an entire maternity leave whereas prior they may not have been able to completely fill that entire maternity leave,” Otten said.

For reference, Otten said maternity leave is 12 weeks long.

Kitty Coons retired from teaching in 2015, but started substituting the same year because she said she loves teaching and wanted to continue.

She said the increase in hours creates more opportunities for retired subs like her to continue doing what they love.

“Most of us sub because we love kids, we love whatever grade that we’ve worked with.” she said. “I taught high school when I was going but I love going back to the little kids because that’s where I train. It’s a motivation for how people feel and their needs. The needs thing is a big deal.”

Otten said measures like these are beneficial, though she said the best thing for schools would be if the limit was removed entirely.

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