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Florida Democrats propose new laws to address staff shortage in public schools

Florida – In Florida, lawmakers from the Democratic Party are pushing for new laws to help fix a big problem with not having enough staff in the state’s public schools. Senator Victor Torres from Kissimmee and Representative Rita Harris from Orlando are leading the charge with their plans to grow the Deferred Retirement Option Program (DROP). This could be a big help for the school system.

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Solving the staffing shortage

Senator Torres and Representative Harris have introduced Senate Bill 1482 and House Bill 1097. These bills are about dealing with the lack of enough staff in schools, which is now worse than ever. They suggest making it easier for retired school staff like teachers, nurses, heads of schools, and bus drivers to come back to work sooner after retiring, without losing their retirement money.

Senator Torres, who works for people in Osceola County and part of Orange County, said it’s really important to get experienced teachers back into schools. He mentioned, “We’re really short on good teachers, bus drivers, and other staff. That’s why I’m all for these changes, to let retired staff with a lot of experience come back sooner and make our schools better for our kids.”

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The workers’ shortage is causing a lot of problems

The Florida Department of Education has said there are about 9,000 open jobs for teachers and other school staff. This is the biggest shortage Florida has ever seen, getting worse since the COVID-19 pandemic. The people behind the bills say the shortage is because of low pay and too much negative attention on schools.

Representative Harris talked about how serious this problem is and how the bill could help. She said, “Public schools have been short on teachers, nurses, bus drivers, and other key staff for a while now. This bill lets retired teachers come back to work earlier than planned. This will help schools a lot, especially as we try to keep up with more and more kids. I’m happy to propose a bill that will help our students and support our schools.”

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What’s behind the proposed bills

If these bills get approved, the changes would start on July 1, 2024. This could make things a lot better for Florida’s public schools by making it easier to get enough qualified people. By letting retired staff come back to work, these bills could improve education for students and help schools during this tough time. You can find all the details of these bills online under SB 1482 and HB 1097.

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