Senate, House offer help to teachers

The state Senate and House both voted Monday to offer teachers relief from training requirements in the current tough economy.

The Senate voted to cut in half the number of professional learning units (PLUs) teachers are required to earn in order to keep their teaching certificate.

“When teachers are being furloughed and are watching their salaries continually being chipped away, it’s imperative that we find creative solutions to ease their financial burden,” said Sen. Lee Hawkins (R-Gainesville), the bill’s sponsor.

“Some school systems pay for these continuing education courses, while many teachers shoulder the cost by spending money out of their own pocket. Continuing education is important, but in light of budget cuts local school systems continue to face, we need teachers to be in the classroom instructing our students.”

SR 1199 would require that the state’s Professional Standards Commission cut the required number of professional learning units in half over the next five years.

Teachers now must earn 10 PLUs — or 100 hours — every five years.

Meanwhile, the House approved HB 1307, which would allow teachers and paraprofessionals to waive 10 professional learning units for five years, Dickson said.

It now goes to the state Senate for consideration.