Thursday, March 24, 2022

Senate passes bill to help fill teacher shortage

Measure to help fill teacher void heads to House

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Senate gave approval Wednesday to legislation to allow schools to utilize highly-qualified professionals in their classrooms as long as needed. Sen. Jessica Garvin, R-Duncan, authored Senate Bill 1119 to remove the 270-hour cap for adjunct teachers per semester as the state continues to struggle with the teacher shortage.

According to the Oklahoma State School Boards Association (OSSBA), the number of adjunct teachers in Oklahoma schools has increased annually from around 175 during the 2015-2016 school year to more than 400 last school year. The State Board of Education has also approved more than 3,800 emergency certifications so far this school year, pointing to districts’ ongoing need for classroom teachers.

“Until we no longer have a need for emergency certified or adjunct teachers, we must remove any barriers keeping districts from being able to have these highly qualified individuals in the classroom,” Garvin said. “Not only are these professionals helping fill a teaching void, but they’re also helping expose students to their professions, industries and perspective career fields, which is so important as students make decisions about their futures.”

Adjunct teachers are professionals with distinguished qualifications in their field, such as scientists or accountants. Because of their professional background, they do not have to meet the standard certification requirements but can be authorized by the local school board to teach a subject related to their field of expertise.

Rep. Cynthia Roe, R-Lindsay, is the principal House author of the measure that now moves across the rotunda for further consideration.       


OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – Lt. Governor Matt Pinnell commends the Oklahoma Senate for passing Senate Bill 1119, authored by Senator Jessica Garvin.  The bill removes the 270-hour cap per semester for adjunct teachers in order to help combat Oklahoma’s teacher shortage.

“In a time where many Oklahoma school districts are struggling to fill teaching positions, we need to explore different avenues to get great instructors in the classroom,” said Lt. Governor Matt Pinnell. “Oklahoma has many professionals who are highly qualified to teach courses within their fields. We should not be limiting them with arbitrary caps when they are ready and willing to provide quality education to Oklahoma students.”

SB 1119 is expected to be heard on the House floor soon, where it will be sponsored by Representative Kyle Hilbert. More information can be found on the Oklahoma State Legislature website.


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