Connecticut city school system short of dozens of teachers

School system leaders said they recognize the unique challenges facing their teachers.

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – New Haven’s public school system is in desperate need of teachers, confirming this week that it is short by dozens. So, they recently worked with the teachers’ union on a temporary solution.

After tallying up recent hirings, retirements and quits, New Haven Public Schools said they are currently 70 to 80 teachers short.

“I know they just started but, you know, every day it’s a substitute teacher, not the original teachers they had, so it hurts,” said April Gore, whose daughter is dating Wilbur Cross High School.

“I’ve been a teacher since 2007 and we’ve never had vacancies like this before,” said Leslie Blatteau, president of the New Haven Federation of Teachers.

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Blatteau, who worked on a national task force on teacher shortages, said many teachers are leaving for better-paying jobs in the suburbs.

“The work of a teacher has become much more complicated, much more intense, much more stressful than ever before,” Blatteau said in her office Wednesday morning.

“They need to be paid more money,” said Stacy Viera, a parent from Wilbur Cross High School. “So maybe they’ll have enough teachers and classes full of teachers.”

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But the teachers’ union and the school system, for now, reached agreement on a memorandum of understanding this week.

“According to our contract, our departmental teachers teach five lessons a day and so this MOU says OK, our teachers who teach five a day can assume this sixth, but as a result, they will be paid 20% of their salary to assume this sixth,” explained Blatteau.

School system leaders said they recognize the unique challenges facing their teachers.

“Whether it’s food insecurity, to make sure they have the proper social, emotional and mental support,” said Dr. Paul Whyte, assistant superintendent of New Haven Public Schools.

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Blatteau said she and other union representatives will lobby lawmakers to approve more money for teachers’ salaries in the 2023 session.

“For me, one of the things that would really help is state support and also teacher loan relief for people who are going to school to study to be teachers,” said Erica Holahan, whose daughter is a senior at Hillhouse High School.

The school system is working on all sorts of recruitment and retention ideas, Whyte said, and also noted that math, science, special education and English teachers are the ones the school system has the most. need.

Tony Terzi is a reporter at FOX61 News. He can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter and instagram.

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