WYCKOFF, NJ — In a continuance of a law enacted in 2022, recently retired teachers would be able to again receive a retirement allowance and salary if they return to work with a short-staffed school district in New Jersey.

Under District 40 Sen. Kristin Corrado’s bill, a statute permitting teachers who retired from the Teachers’ Pension and Annuity Fund to re-employ with a school board in need would continue through the 2023-24 school year. Introduced in the Senate in May, the bill was passed on Monday by the Legislative House 36-0.

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“This sensible legislation will allow increased flexibility for school districts to hire recently retired, qualified teachers to return to the classroom to help address the statewide teacher shortage,” co-sponsor Corrado said in a statement.

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Enacted in January 2022, the statute that was intended to help fill gaps in staffing would remain under the provisions of this bill, which, like the statute, allows for reemployment without re-enrollment in the TPAF state-administered program. The statute, as enacted, applied only to the 2021-22 and 2022-23 school years.

“While this law took effect immediately upon enactment, various delays prevented many schools and school districts from receiving the benefits of the statute… resulting in a reduction of the benefit this statute was intended to provide,” Corrado’s bill reads. “An ongoing teacher shortage continues to challenge schools… and the need for this statute remains.”

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Pursuant to the statute and bill, educators and staffers providing special services, such as a speech language specialist, can return to work under a contract for one year, and then renew that contract for one additional year. The period of re-employment with a school board must not exceed two years, unless approved by the Commissioner of Education “as being in the best interest of the school district.”

If a retiree returns to work with the former employer, such action must occur 180 days after retirement. Reemployment under the bill must not be “prearranged,” and retirement must have been “bona fide,” the legislation states.

“Closing down schools during the pandemic and switching to online learning was a devastating policy that caused tremendous learning loss,” Corrado said in a statement. “This bill will help alleviate the consequences that were a result of that policy and get our students and our schools back on track.”

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