A new measure is working its way through the Illinois General Assembly that, if passed, could help fill what lawmakers call a void of substitute teachers in Illinois schools, including the Stateline.
"It's a big problem. I think it affects the quality of education," Sen. Steve Stadelman said.
The proposed bill, introduced by Stadelman, would help retired teachers return to the classroom to sub by waiving fees associated with renewing expired teaching licenses.
"If you allow your license to expire right now, under current law, you have to pay a fee or penalty to get that license back, even if its just for a substitute teacher," Stadelman said.
Right now that fee is a couple hundred dollars. Stadelman says he introduced the bill after a retired teacher told him about the challenges of becoming a substitute once his license expired.
"He found out he would have to pay all these penalties and fees," Stadelman said.
He said this bill not only benefits retired educators but schools as well, helping districts fill substitute teaching slots. Like Stadelman, State Senator Dave Syverson says he believes there's a shortage of substitute teachers statewide.
Syverson said he sees the need to waive fees and help retired teachers bring their years of experience back into the classroom.
"The number of teachers that are out there are certainly more than we need," Syverson said. "Those who are able to drop everything and come in and work for a couple of days; Those are a little bit tougher to find."
The bill is receiving bipartisan support in Springfield. Earlier in March, Democrats and Republicans on the Senate Education Committee passed the bill unanimously.
The bill will be passed to the Senate for approval in April followed by the House.