(a) The county superintendent, subject to approval of the county board, may employ and assign substitute teachers to any of the following duties:
(1) Fill the temporary absence of any teacher or an unexpired school term made vacant by resignation, death, suspension or dismissal;
(2) Fill a teaching position of a regular teacher on leave of absence; and
(3) Perform the instructional services of any teacher who is authorized by law to be absent from class without loss of pay, providing the absence is approved by the board of education in accordance with the law.
The substitute shall be a duly certified teacher.
(b) Notwithstanding any other provision of this code to the contrary, a substitute teacher who has been assigned as a classroom teacher in the same classroom continuously for more than one half of a grading period and whose assignment remains in effect two weeks prior to the end of the grading period, shall remain in the assignment until the grading period has ended, unless the principal of the school certifies that the regularly employed teacher has communicated with and assisted the substitute with the preparation of lesson plans and monitoring student progress or has been approved to return to work by his or her physician. For the purposes of this section, teacher and substitute teacher, in the singular or plural, mean professional educator as defined in section one, article one of this chapter.
(c) (1) The Legislature hereby finds and declares that due to a shortage of qualified substitute teachers, a compelling state interest exists in expanding the use of retired teachers to provide service as substitute teachers in areas of critical need and shortage. The Legislature further finds that diverse circumstances exist among the counties for the expanded use of retired teachers as substitutes.
(2) For the purposes of this subsection:
(A) “Area of critical need and shortage for substitute teachers” means an area of certification and training in which the number of available substitute teachers in the county who hold certification and training in that area and who are not retired is insufficient to meet the projected need for substitute teachers; and
(B) “Teacher or substitute teacher” includes speech pathologists and school nurses.
(3) A person receiving retirement benefits under article seven-a, chapter eighteen of this code or who is entitled to retirement benefits during the fiscal year in which that person retired may accept employment as a critical needs substitute teacher for an unlimited number of days each fiscal year without affecting the monthly retirement benefit to which the retirant is otherwise entitled if the following conditions are satisfied:
(A) The county board adopts a policy recommended by the superintendent to address areas of critical need and shortage for substitute teachers;
(B) The policy sets forth the areas of critical need and shortage for substitute teachers in the county in accordance with the definition of area of critical need and shortage for substitute teachers set forth in subdivision (2) of this subsection;
(C) The policy provides for the employment of retired teachers as critical needs substitute teachers during the school year on an expanded basis in areas of critical need and shortage for substitute teachers as provided in this subsection;
(D) The policy provides that a retired teacher may be employed as a substitute teacher in an area of critical need and shortage for substitute teachers on an expanded basis as provided in this subsection only when no other teacher who holds certification and training in the area and who is not retired is available and accepts the substitute assignment;
(E) The policy is effective for one school year only and is subject to annual renewal by the county board;
(F) The state board approves the policy and the use of retired teachers as substitute teachers on an expanded basis in areas of critical need and shortage for substitute teachers as provided in this subsection; and
(G) Prior to employment of a retired teacher as a critical needs substitute teacher beyond the post-retirement employment limitations established by the Consolidated Public Retirement Board, the superintendent of the affected county submits to the state board in a form approved by the Consolidated Public Retirement Board and the state board, an affidavit signed by the superintendent stating the name of the county, the fact that the county has adopted a policy to employ retired teachers as substitutes to address areas of critical need and shortage, the name or names of the person or persons to be employed as a critical needs substitute pursuant to the policy, the critical need and shortage area position filled by each person, the date that the person gave notice to the county board of the person’s intent to retire, and the effective date of the person’s retirement. Upon verification of compliance with this section and the eligibility of the critical needs substitute teacher for employment beyond the post-retirement limit, the state board shall submit the affidavit to the Consolidated Public Retirement Board.
(4) Any person who retires and begins work as a critical needs substitute teacher within the same fiscal year in which that person retired shall lose those retirement benefits attributed to the annuity reserve, effective from the first day of employment as a retiree critical needs substitute teacher in that fiscal year and ending with the month following the date the retiree ceases to perform service as a critical needs substitute teacher.
(5) Retired teachers employed to perform expanded substitute service pursuant to this subsection are considered day-to-day, temporary, part-time employees. The substitutes are not eligible for additional pension or other benefits paid to regularly employed employees and may not accrue seniority.
(6) A retired teacher is eligible to be employed as a critical needs substitute teacher to fill a vacant position without any loss of retirement benefits attributed to the annuity reserve only if the retired teacher’s retirement became effective before the first day of July preceding at least the fiscal year during which he or she is employed as a critical needs substitute teacher.
(7) When a retired teacher is employed as a critical needs substitute to fill a vacant position, the county board shall continue to post the vacant position until it is filled with a regularly employed teacher who is fully certified or permitted for the position.
(8) When a retired teacher is employed as a critical needs substitute to fill a vacant position, the position vacancy shall be posted electronically and easily accessible to prospective employees as determined by the state board.
(9) Until this subsection is expired pursuant to subdivision (10) of this subsection, the state board shall report to the Joint Committee on Government and Finance, prior to February 1 of each year, information indicating the effectiveness of the provisions of this subsection on reducing the critical need and shortage of substitute teachers including, but not limited to, the number of retired teachers, by critical need and shortage area position filled and by county, employed beyond the post-retirement employment limit established by the Consolidated Public Retirement Board, the date that each person gave notice to the county board of the person’s intent to retire, and the effective date of the person’s retirement. A copy of the report shall also be provided to the Legislative Oversight Commission on Education Accountability.
(10) The provisions of this subsection shall expire on June 30, 2020.
(d) (1) Notwithstanding any other provision of this code to the contrary, each year a county superintendent may employ prospective employable professional personnel on a reserve list at the county level subject to the following conditions:
(A) The county board adopts a policy authorizing the employment of prospective employable professional personnel to address areas of critical need and shortage;
(B) The county board posts a notice of the critical need and shortage area positions in the county in a conspicuous place in each school or on the county website for at least ten working days prior to making offers of employment to prospective candidates; and
(C) There are not any potentially qualified applicants available and willing to fill the position.
(2) Prospective employable professional personnel may only be employed from candidates at a job fair who have or will graduate from college in the current school year and will commence employment at the next employment term.
(3) The number of prospective employable professional personnel employed is limited to the number required to fill the critical need and shortage area positions posted in accordance with subdivision (1) of this subsection.
(4) Prospective employable professional personnel shall be granted benefits at a cost to the county board and as a condition of the employment contract as approved by the county board.
(5) Regular employment status for prospective employable professional personnel may be obtained only upon recommendation by the superintendent and approval by the county board following consideration of the qualifications of the candidate in accordance with the applicable provisions of section seven-a, article four of this chapter. Upon board approval, prospective employable professional personnel may be placed into a critical needs position if the job has been posted at least once in accordance with paragraph (B), subdivision (1) of this subsection resulting in no qualified applicants. Employment of the prospective employable professional personnel pursuant to this subsection may occur without the need for additional postings and without the need for additional faculty senate involvement other than the initial faculty senate involvement required in the case of a classroom teaching position pursuant to section seven-a, article four of this chapter.
(6) Nothing in this subsection prevents a county board from filling a posted vacancy in an established, existing or newly created position at any time in accordance with the other provisions of this chapter.
(7) For the purpose of recruiting professional personnel in critical needs areas and to attract professional personnel in a critical need or shortage area, county boards of education may from local funds pay prospective employable professional personnel a one-time financial incentive such as, but not limited to, a signing bonus or moving expenses, after a contract of employment has been signed.