Jasey & Lampitt Bill to Address Teacher Shortages Passes Assembly Committee

Legislation Would Allow Retired Teachers and Staff Members to Work During 2021-2022 and 2022-2023 School Years Without Reenrolling in Teachers’ Pension and Annuity Fund

Currently, schools throughout New Jersey are experiencing severe teacher and staff shortages that have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. With the demand for qualified educators and staff members drastically outpacing the supply, Assembly Democrats Mila Jasey and Pamela Lampitt sponsor a measure to allow retired teachers and staff members to return to work during the 2021-2022 and 2022-2023 school years without having to reenroll in the Teachers’ Pension and Annuity Fund (TPAF). The Assembly Education Committee released the bill on Monday.

Under the bill (A-5576), a retired teacher or professional staff member providing a special service would be allowed to return to work in a position of critical need, as determined by the Commissioner of Education, without being reenrolled in TPAF if reemployment occurs more than 180 days after retirement. The staff member would be able to return on an annual contract basis, which could be renewed for one additional year. The total period of reemployment could not exceed two years unless approved by the Commissioner of Education.

Upon committee approval of the measure, Assemblywomen Jasey (D-Essex, Morris) and Lampitt (D-Camden, Burlington) issued the following joint statement:

“The COVID-19 pandemic has presented our schools with many challenges, including significant teacher and staff shortages in districts throughout New Jersey. We cannot allow these gaps in staffing to stand in the way of our students receiving the high-quality education our state is known for.

“We must do everything in our power to ensure that our schools are staffed with qualified educators. With this bill we can put our students first by allowing retired teachers and staff members to return to our classrooms and schools without reenrolling in the Teachers’ Pension and Annuity Fund.”

The bill now heads to the Speaker for further consideration.