New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed a bill into law allowing retired teachers to return to classrooms for up to two years without losing their pensions, aiming to address the state's shortage of educators. The law permits districts to hire retired teachers and staff during the 2023-2024 school year, provided they have been retired for at least 180 days. Retired educators can be hired for one year and have their contracts extended for one additional year. During their contract period, these retired teachers will receive both their pension allowance and a salary.
The shortage of teachers in New Jersey has been a longstanding issue, particularly in special education, science, and instruction for non-native English speakers. The COVID-19 pandemic further exacerbated the problem as some retirees chose not to stay longer in the districts due to personal reasons.
The state reported shortages of bilingual education, ESL, world language, math, and science teachers at all grade levels, including preschool, for the 2023-2024 school year. However, the exact extent of the shortage remains uncertain, as the Department of Education failed to release the required annual reports on teacher staffing in a timely manner.
Besides the option of allowing retired teachers to return, lawmakers are also considering other approaches, such as potentially suspending the state residency requirement for educators, to tackle the shortage effectively. Senator Teresa Ruiz, the bill's prime sponsor, believes that eliminating or temporarily suspending the residency requirement would help districts hire much-needed teaching staff and address the current shortage.
You can read more about it on the New Jersey Monitor: https://newjerseymonitor.com/briefs/governor-murphy-signs-bill-allowing-retired-teachers-to-return-to-classrooms-keep-pensions/