NYC to Offer Signing, Retention Bonuses For Pre-K Teachers

NEW YORK (AP) -

Teachers at prekindergarten programs offered by community-based early childhood centers such as yeshivos in New York City will receive a $2,500 signing bonus and a $3,500 retention bonus, officials said Wednesday.

The move to boost the pay of teachers working outside of public school buildings comes as the city gears up for the second year of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s expanded pre-K initiative.

“This is part of the mayor and chancellor’s effort to bring one unified high-quality system for prekindergarten throughout the city,” said Deputy Schools Chancellor Josh Wallack, referring to Chancellor Carmen Farina.

Wallack said the city wants to signal that pre-K is “an exciting career for our most talented educators.”

Because there wasn’t enough space for new pre-K classes in the city’s public schools, 21,000 of the 53,000 full-day pre-K seats in the 2014-2015 school year were in community-based programs such as day-care centers and private religious schools.

The city is planning for more than 70,000 full-day pre-K seats in the 2015-2016 school year.

Officials expect to pay signing bonuses to about 800 pre-K teachers and retention bonuses to another 800.