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Day 21: Return to Work Bill Closer to Passage in 2022; Alternate Diploma Path Pilot Approved

House Retirement Sends Educator Return to Work Bill to Actuary

The House Retirement Committee approved HB 385 for actuarial study on Feb. 23. The legislation is sponsored on behalf of Gov. Brian Kemp as part of his teacher pipeline initiative by Rep. Shaw Blackmon (R-Bonaire). HB 385 would allow retired educators to return to work full-time after a 12-month waiting period following retirement and continue to draw full Teacher Retirement System (TRS) benefits. Employment is restricted to high-needs areas as determined by Regional Education Service Agencies (RESAs). As a fiscal retirement bill, HB 385 is required to follow a two-year legislative process. After successfully moving to actuarial review, the legislation will be eligible to pass the 2022 legislature and become effective thereafter. PAGE Director of Legislative Services Margaret Ciccarelli testified in support of HB 385 at the hearing.

Reminder: Individual retirement decisions should not be based on pending legislation.

Senate Committee Approves Pilot Program for High School Dropouts

The Senate Higher Education Committee unanimously approved SB 204, which aims to create a pilot program to help individuals who left high school before graduating, or who want to do so, earn a high school diploma from a technical college. Sponsored by committee Chair Sen. Lindsey Tippins (R-Marietta), the bill does not replace dual enrollment. The Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) would be tasked with developing diploma requirements comparable to those of the State Board of Education. Program eligibility criteria include being 16 or older, completing at least six of nine required ninth- and 10th-grade courses, and meeting admission requirements of the technical college system. To earn a diploma, students would be required to complete all required coursework and one of the following: an associate degree program; a technical college diploma program; or. at least two technical college certificates of credit programs in one specific career pathway.

Tippins described the bill as enabling students who dropped out of high school or current students for whom high school is not a good fit to gain a diploma as well as additional training that will help them succeed in the workforce.


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