Ohio Governor Mike DeWine signed into law House Bill 583, legislation to relieve the state’s substitute teacher shortage by creating more flexible licensure.

Bill sponsor State Representative Adam Bird (R-New Richmond), a former superintendent, advocated for individual schools and school districts to have increased local control and allow them to hire substitute teachers in accordance with their own education requirements for the next two school years.

In addition to local control, the bill requires the State Board of Education to issue nonrenewable one-year substitute teacher educator licenses to qualified applicants.

“I was proud to stand up for our schools and our students with this legislation. These new licensure requirements will allow schools to hire more substitute teachers and will reduce the number of days that a school might have to close or change to virtual learning due to a lack of substitute teachers,” said Bird. “I’d like to thank my joint sponsor State Representative Don Jones (R-Freeport), our colleagues in the House and Senate and Ohio’s executive branch for their support.”

While the bill will ease the challenges of staffing shortages, it is not intended to be a long-term solution. Bird and Jones addressed the need for a permanent solution with a provision to create a study committee that will be tasked with investigating why the issue is persistent in Ohio.

Additional issues addressed by the measure, per amendments added by the Ohio Senate, include Ohio School Safety Month, Quality Community school programs, tutoring programs, dyslexia screening and other matters.

The bill will go into effect in 90 days.

State Representative Bird is serving his first term in the Ohio House of Representatives. He represents the 66th Ohio house district, serving residents in all of Brown County and the southeastern portion of Clermont County.