KPERS teachers face challenges with Kansas school staff shortages

Substitute teacher Corey Wilson teases students in a science classroom at Topeka West High School in fall 2020. Wilson is a retired teacher who spent over 40 years teaching English for Topeka USD 501.

As Kansas school districts continue to face staff and teacher shortages, one group of people in position to help often faces hurdles to getting back to work in schools.

Under state law, school retirees who receive benefits from the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System may generally return to work in schools, but a few provisions in state law make it harder for them to do so, KPERS director Alan Conroy told the Kansas State Board of Education on Wednesday.

First, two different waiting periods keep retired school employees from immediately starting in positions, even if only working as substitutes.

Those who retire after age 62 have to wait 60 days before being able to work in a KPERS-affiliated employer, while others who retire before 62 have to wait 180 days.

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