Jersey City BOE to pay teachers more for after-school care, hoping to alleviate long waiting list

The staff crisis that has created a long waitlist for after-school child care in Jersey City may soon be over.

The Jersey City Board of Education plans to increase the hourly rate of pay for employees of “CASPER,” the district’s popular after-school program, by $ 3 an hour in all areas, from $ 30 to $ 33 an hour, officials said.

Jersey City teachers and staff, Kindergarten to Grade 5, have the option of working overtime in the children’s after-school program for after-school education and recreation, but the rate of Previous pay was not enough to attract enough teachers to properly train staff. the program, said Deputy Superintendent Norma Fernandez.

The result has been a shortage of places in CASPER, a waiting list of 500 children and parents who have resorted to drastic measures to recover their children after school, such as changing jobs or relying on older children. -parents to help them.

Making employment at CASPER more lucrative can ease the pressure by getting more staff and creating more places for students. But the underlying problem, according to Board of Education chairman Mussab Ali, is the shortage of teachers across the district.

The rise in the pay scale is being funded by an $ 83 million investment in Gov. Phil Murphy’s child care, Ali said.

This money is a one-time initiative and will not help attract new teachers. Only Jersey City public school teachers are permitted to teach in CASPER, Fernandez said, due to the amount of work required to hire and fire new teachers from scratch, although the district is considering that option.

The salary increase will also not solve the deeper issues causing the entry of safeguarding into CASPER, including the population growth in the city center which has not been offset by the construction of new schools and a shortage. of facilities available.

However, this decision will be a stopgap to get more teachers in the short term until a permanent solution to the understaffing problem can be found. Ali said the board is considering “dramatic” measures to hire more teachers, which will be unveiled at next month’s meeting, but did not specify.

The board will vote on the resolution to increase after-school pay at its meeting on Thursday. It’s on the consent agenda and Ali has said he expects it to pass.

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