That’s the amount of money the Bryan County Board of Education handed out to all permanent employees across the county Thursday as part of a one-time bonus equal to 3 percent of their annual salary.
Board members and central office staff visited various schools in the county to announce the news, and Chairman Eddie Warren said the board was glad to give back to the teachers that have given so much to the county.
“The state has cut (funds) since 2003, and just in Bryan County they’ve cut over $26 million, monies that we have earned but (we) haven’t been able to get, and its been since 2008 since teachers have actually had a pay raise,” Warren said following the BoE’s regular meeting at Bryan County High School. “They still get their step raises as they have experience, but the state hasn’t given a pay increase, and we feel like our teachers deserved it.
“We worked diligently on the budget to try to find some money for something we could do, and we found it and presented the money to them for appreciation of what they do for our children each and every day.”
Warren said the board and central office staff has worked since August to find extra money in the budget and also pulled some money from the fund balance to give each employee the extra cash. He said the day was emotional.
“It was amazing — No. 1, for the last couple of days after we announced there was going to be a faculty meeting at the school, if you see a teacher on the street, they’re going ‘why are we meeting.’ They’re thinking something bad was coming,” Warren said. “And then when we made the announcement we were giving them a one-time salary payment, it was claps, joy, jumping up and down, people crying, I mean it was very, very emotional and something very good.”
Board member Amy Murphy said being a part of the day to help make the announcements to teachers was very exciting.
“It was really a gift, as a board member, to be able to let everyone there know how much we appreciate everything they do for our children,” Murphy said. “I know oftentimes in education it feels like a thankless job and sometimes there are difficult days and it may take years before you realize all your hard work pays off. So I am glad that everyone felt honored and appreciated because that was certainly the gesture that we intended.”
See more in the Nov.17 edition of the News.