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, Pamela Lampitt and Raj Mukherji 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 measure was signed into law on Tuesday.
Under the law (formerly bill A-5576/S-3685), a retired teacher or professional staff member providing a special service will be allowed to return to work in a position of critical need, as determined by the Commissioner of Education, without reenrolling in TPAF if reemployment occurs more than 180 days after retirement. The staff member will be able to return on an annual contract basis, which can be renewed for one additional year. The total period of reemployment cannot exceed two years unless approved by the Commissioner of Education.
Upon the bill becoming law, Assembly sponsors Jasey (D-Essex, Morris), Lampitt (D-Camden, Burlington) and Mukherji (D-Hudson) 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 law 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.”