Column One: Teachers
School districts faced with declining enrollments could avoid layoffs by using a popular Canadian program that allows teachers to defer part of their annual salaries to fund a year off with pay.
That is the conclusion of a study of a variety of deferred-salary leave plans in 19 school districts in Ontario, conducted by Stephen Jacobson, a professor of education at the graduate school of education at the State University of New York at Buffalo.
The original Canadian plan was developed by the Lakehead school board in Thunder Bay, Ontario, in 1978.
It allows teachers to defer 20 percent of their yearly salary for four years, in order to enjoy a fifth year off at 80 percent pay and full benefits. The teachers are guaranteed positions when they return to work.
A teacher earning $40,000 a year who receives 5 percent raises annually, and whose benefits amount to 30 percent of the salary, costs $287,000 to employ over five years, the study notes.
But by offering six teachers the opportunity to defer some of their pay for four years and take a leave in the fifth year, a district could save $8,800 more than it would by laying off one teacher, it concludes.
Thirty-four teachers and administrators from Puerto Rico spent last week visiting the homes and schools of educators in seven Connecticut school districts to learn more about the educational system that Puerto Rican children encounter in that state.
The exchange program, now in its fifth year, was launched to improve the achievement of the approximately 5,000 Puerto Rican students who move between the island and Connecticut each year. Connecticut educators will visit the island in August.
During their visit, the Puerto Rican teachers and administrators were paired with counterparts from Hartford, Bridgeport, Danbury, Meriden, New Haven, New Britain, and Windham.
They met with state officials, toured schools, and discussed the challenges facing these highly mobile students.
The Rockefeller Brothers Fund has named 25 students from 17 colleges and universities across the country as the first recipients of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund Fellowships for minority students who plan to become teachers.
The fellows will be awarded up to $18,000 each for graduate tuition,
loan repayment, and summer projects. In the next six years, the fund
expects to expand the program to include 150 fellows.--A.B.