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Hartford Public Schools system introduces incentives, stipends to keep educators on staff

Superintendent Dr. Leslie Torres-Rodriguez called it a more than $5 million investment in staff.

HARTFORD, Conn. — As schools across the state struggle with staffing, Hartford Public Schools introduced a series of increased incentives and stipends for employees to help with recruiting educators and keeping them.

Superintendent Dr. Leslie Torres-Rodriguez called it a more than $5 million investment in staff. It comes as school districts across the state, including Hartford, are still reporting staff vacancies even as they approach the end of the school year.

“Especially in the large cities. Many are using permanent subs," said Fran Rabinowitz, Executive Director of the Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents.

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“Not as many people are going into the profession, and then when we think about staff moving to other districts whether it is because internally, they are moving on to a leadership position or another district for example, and then there’s a lot of competition," said Dr. Torres-Rodriguez.

At the end of this academic year, each full-time employee will receive a $750 incentive, and each part-time employee will receive a $250 incentive. In an effort to increase retention, full- and part-time employees who return for the 2022-2023 school year will receive an additional, larger bonus.

Additionally, staff with direct responsibility for academic or social-emotional will receive funds to personalize their student learning space.

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Summer programming staff will also see a significant increase in stipends over the previous year.

“How do we establish a sustainable teacher and staff pipeline, and so marketing and all of these incentives: retentions, bonuses, referral bonuses and really supporting our staff was one of the ways we thought to make that happen," said Dr. Torres-Rodriguez.

These incentives will be funded from either an anticipated surplus from the HPS General Fund or from ongoing COVID-19 grant funding, depending on the incentive type.

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This move is the latest in a list of efforts at the state and local levels to get more teachers in the door. The Connecticut State Department of Education announced a new initiative that allows educators who are certified in other states across the northeast to quickly obtain an equivalent certification in Connecticut without going through the certification process again.

“We would say well you have to take this course of this course because we require that, and it didn’t make sense to me then and it doesn’t make sense now, so I’m thrilled that they changed it," said Rabinowitz.

Credit: Hartford Public Schools
Credit: Hartford Public Schools

Angelo Bavaro is an anchor and reporter at FOX61 News. He can be reached at abavaro@fox61.com. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

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