School districts in Arkansas could have the concrete ability to consider out-of-state teaching experience when negotiating salary. The House Education Committee passed the bill by a voice vote Thursday morning.
According to Dr. Tony Prothro, the executive director of the Arkansas School Board Association, some public schools were already considering out-of-state teaching years, but it was unclear whether this practice was completely legal.
“This was a clean-up bill so that it would make it lawful for any school district that so desires to do this,” Prothro said. He believes this bill could help recruit more teachers to taking jobs in Arkansas.
“One of the things that we know in the state of Arkansas, we have a definite teacher shortage. Some of those teachers from out of state may be hesitant to come over even when districts are trying to recruit them to our state for teaching,” Prothro said. “So this would allow those districts to better be able to recruit out of state teachers to come in, giving them their experience.”
According to the legislation, the out of state teacher must have a valid teaching license where they acquired their years of experience. The institution they taught at also must be comparable to those listed in the state statute.
One question the committee had over the bill is whether or not those out of state years would affect teacher retirement. Dr. Richard Abernathy, executive director of the Arkansas Association of Educational Administrators, said any effects would be minimal.
“Right now, if you come in from out of state, it doesn’t matter how much experience you have outside of Arkansas,” Abernathy said. “Coming out-of-state, you start at year one on years of service...it would potentially increase their [retirement] salary because they would earn a higher salary at that point.”
School districts are not required to consider out-of-state years according to the legislation. It will now head to the floor of the House of Representatives for a full vote.