Teachers must submit renewal paperwork ahead of possible shutdownby Tom Weber, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — State officials are encouraging teachers and other school staff who need licenses to submit paperwork in the next few days, ahead of any possible government shutdown.
Staff whose licenses haven't been approved by the start of school will be prohibited from working. Educators usually have the entire summer to submit paperwork. But the state education department's licensing office would close if state government shuts down next week.
Licensing director Richard Wassen says summer is already the busiest time for the department, with thousands of licenses to process.
"These days remaining between now and the beginning of school - we need every day," Wassen said. "And sometimes we ask staff to work on weekends. The longer a shutdown goes, we lose not only the time we would have been working, but there's more of a backup, as you can imagine."
License renewals can be processed online in a few days but applications for new licenses take longer, Wassen said.
Teachers who need to renew their licenses are being told to do so in the next few days because the state office that processes those requests would likely close if government shuts down. Renewals submitted online are usually processed in two days, which would make Tuesday the last day to make the deadline.
About 20 percent of all teaching licenses come up for renewal each year, said Tom Dooher, president of the state's teachers' union Education Minnesota.
Teachers would normally have a cushion if they miss the June 30th deadline because they could keep applying through the summer. But Dooher says that won't be possible this year if the state's education department shuts down.
"We don't have any idea of when that department is going to get back up and running, and in order to be able to teach in the fall, you've got to have a valid license," Dooher said.