On Friday, Governor Tom Wolf signed Act 91 of 2021 into law. Act 91 is intended to assist with the current substitute teacher shortage. Highlights of the bill include:
- For the 2021-22 and 2022-23 school years, allows a school employer to hire a retiree if there is an emergency or shortage of day-to-day substitute teachers.
- Allows individuals holding day-to-day substitute permits to serve as a substitute in any certificate area for up to 20 days substituting for the same teacher. If the service exceeds 20 days, a long-term substitute permit is required. An individual may serve as a day-to-day substitute for more than one educator as long as each assignment does not last more than 20 days.
- Allows individuals holding a valid and active Pennsylvania certificate or comparable out-of-state certificate to serve as a day-to-day substitute in the individual’s certificate area for up to 20 days. If the service exceeds 20 days or if a certified individual is substituting outside of their certificate area, an emergency permit is required.
- Expands the substitute teacher program for prospective teachers for the 2021-22 and 2022-23 school years by removing the 10-day limit to substitute for the same teacher and 20-day limit to serve as a substitute for multiple teachers.
- Extends the time limit for an individual with an inactive certification to be employed as a substitute from 90 days to 180 days.
- Allows individuals who have completed a teacher preparation program and are in the process of scheduling the required testing to be issued a temporary substitute certificate. For the 2021-22 and 2022-23 school years, the certificate may be used for assignments of more than 20 consecutive days.
- Creates a new permit for a classroom monitor to deliver assignments that are pre-planned by a teacher. The monitor may not plan lessons, create or grade student work. The monitor must meet certain education requirements and/or be currently employed as a paraprofessional.