Lamont’s executive order allows reemployment of retired teachers

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HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) – Connecticut is experiencing a state-wide teacher shortage made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic, but now, districts have greater flexibility to rehire retired teachers who can fill vacancies.

Due to an increase in COVID-19 cases in the state, some schools had to close for several days because of severe staffing shortages.

“Every district today neds that assistance,” Derby Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Matt Conway said.

Gov. Ned Lamont signed an executive order Tuesday, giving districts greater flexibility to do this. Now, they can employ or continue to employ retired teachers even if they reached the maximum limit allowed under state law while getting retirement benefits by excluding the period between July 1, 2021, and Feb. 15, 2022, from the salary determination.

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“This basically exempts or waives those initial months you worked this school year from interruption of your retirement and allows you to work through the end of the year,” Conway said. “So, it will help tremendously for districts who took that step initially and they have someone in the hiring process, who won’t impact their retirement.”

By having experienced educators on board, the hope is that there will be fewer gaps when it comes to learning. That’s why Bayers breathed a sigh of relief after the governor signed the executive order.

“Covering a class should not just simply be, we have someone who can supervise and make sure children are safe,” John Bayers, the assistant superintendent of human resources and general administration of Westport Public Schools, said. “The children need continuity of instruction. At the end of the day, it meets the needs of our students.”

Retired teachers who want to step in and help are encouraged to call the districts you’ve worked with to find if they need help or know of a district that does.

The executive order modifies certain statutes that now allow school districts to hire retired teachers for a maximum of two school years in districts designated as a subject shortage area or identified as a priority school district.

“This executive order is a critical step to providing much-needed resources to ensure we keep students in the classroom and provide them with an in-person education,” Lamont said. “We are fortunate to have retired teachers available to provide some relief for their colleagues who continue to do great work for school children across our state. We will continue to utilize all tools at our disposal to provide for a safe and meaningful classroom education for students.”

Read the executive order here.

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