(a) Notwithstanding any other provision of this code to the contrary, beginning July 1, 2012, rehabilitation teachers shall be paid at the equivalent rate of pay of teachers, pursuant to section two, article four, chapter eighteen-a of this code. Rehabilitation teachers shall be paid outside the public school support plan, defined in section one, article nine-a of this chapter, and shall receive the equivalent of the salary supplement paid to teachers employed by the county board within the county where the administrative headquarters of the division are located, pursuant to section five-a, article four, chapter eighteen-a of this code.
(b) For purposes of this section, the following words shall be construed as follows:
(1) "Rehabilitation teacher" means any person employed by the division and who meets the certification requirements of section two-a, article three, chapter eighteen-a of this code, or who has been certified to teach by a state or nationally recognized organization, as approved by the office of the secretary of education and the arts. The teachers shall maintain current certification in their teaching areas in order to remain employed and may teach only in the areas in which they are certified: Provided, That teachers who were employed on or before April 1, 1995, are exempt from the following requirements:
(A) Certification pursuant to section two-a, article three, chapter eighteen-a of this code;
(B) Maintenance of current certification in their teaching areas in order to remain employed; and
(C) Teaching only in the areas in which they are certified.
(2) "Equivalent rate of pay" means an annualized rate based on a two hundred forty-day teaching schedule and includes pay for vacation and legal state holidays.