New York City teacher retirements jump 28 percent in September ahead of fall semester

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Despite a 28% decline in New York City teacher retirements in 2020, the number of New York City teachers announcing their retirement in September, just before the start of school, jumped over 28% compared to the same month last year, according to data obtained by 7 On Your Side Investigates from the NYC Teacher Retirement System.

The uptick in late retirement announcements follows a similar trend around the state as teachers grapple with challenges created by the coronavirus pandemic.

"We are losing a lot by having folks leave and prematurely," said New York State United Teachers President Andy Pallotta.

In an earlier report, 7 On Your Side Investigates found the number of New York teachers working outside NYC who announced their retirements in August 2020 was up 121% compared to 2019 and overall teacher retirements were up over 9% compared to 2019.

New York City teachers and teachers working outside the city are under two different retirement systems.

Data shows most teachers tend to announce their retirements by July or earlier, indicating many of the teachers who made later announcements did not initially intend to retire or were struggling with the decision to retire, according to NYSUT.

The New York City Department of Education acknowledged the retirements in a statement.

"We're making sure we have high-quality teachers and staff in place for a safe reopening," wrote spokesperson Danielle Filson. "According to the data provided by the Teacher Retirement System, this year's retirements are down from last year and we're doing everything we can to support our teachers in the lead up to the first day of school, with professional development and additional days for set-up and training."

In an earlier statement, the city also indicated it was doing its best to approve requests for special accommodations made by teachers with specific health needs.

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