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Incentives rolling out for Hartford teachers

Hartford rolls out incentives for teachers
Published: Apr. 26, 2022 at 7:03 PM EDT
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HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) - There’s a new push to recruit and retain staff in Hartford Public Schools.

Throughout the pandemic, school districts across the state and country have been grappling with staffing shortages.

In Hartford, a multi-tiered approach is underway to recruit and retain teachers.

“To make it through and persevere and to do that at a high standard is something that is worth celebrating,” said Jesse Sugarman, Senior Advisor for Strategy and Institutional Advancement at Hartford Public Schools.

Sugarman says 90-percent of positions within the district are currently filled and efforts are underway to make sure there are fewer vacancies.

The school system just announced a series of increased incentives and stipends for employees.

That includes a $750 end of year incentive for full-time employees and $250 dollars for part time employees.

All staff who return for the next school year will receive a $1000 bonus if they’re certified and $500 if they’re non-certified.

“Now is the time a lot of our teachers are making decisions and personnel about what they’re going to do next year and we want to make sure they know we’re making an investment in them and we hope they stay with Hartford Public Schools,” said Sugarman.

Funding for the incentives is coming from a surplus from the Hartford Public Schools general fund as well as COVID-19 grant money.

“Incentives are great. And it’s certainly appreciative that the district is finally offering reasonable incentives and we believe they should have been equal across job categories,” said Carol Gale, President of the Hartford Federation of Teachers.

Gale says the message from the union has been consistent.

“The employees in our schools feel overworked and underappreciated. So you need to reduce the workload. We can’t always be adding on, adding on, adding on. At some point, you’ve got to remove some things,” Gale said.

The union also wants to see salaries raised and smaller class sizes.

The district recently hired 17 teachers from Puerto Rico.

“We are totally in line in wanting to retain the best teachers, create more teachers and make sure the teaching profession is more robust all to benefit our students,” said Sugarman.