Employees of Bryan County Schools got an extra $2,000 in their paychecks Friday, just in time for spring break.
The measure by the Bryan County Board of Education was announced in a press release Thursday, and expands on Gov. Brian Kemp’s one-time payment of $2,000 for teachers approved as part of the state’s mid-term budget March 16.
Local school officials discussed making the $2,000 payment to all of its approximately 1,500 full-time employees at a recent school board work session. Substitute teachers will also get additional compensation.
“In an effort to support and show appreciation to all full-time employees, the Bryan County Board of Education members strongly feel all staff, regardless of state funding, should receive this payment,” the release said. “Also, recognizing the vital role substitutes and after school program staff members play in the organization, the board has agreed these individuals should also be compensated in some equitable manner.”
The district’s employees eligible for the bonus got them early, according to the press release. State funding for the bonus won’t be available until April 28, the release said, noting the decision to pay early, “will allow staff members the opportunity to truly relax and recuperate over the break,” which begins Monday, April 4.
The bonuses to employees not funded in the state budget will cost Bryan County Schools approximately $500,000, according to the district’s communications and marketing coordinator, Melissa Roberts.
The release quoted Dr. Paul Brooksher, superintendent of BCS: “The Board of Education is adamant every active employee as of March 28 receive these additional funds. Education is a tough profession and our staff have endured so much over the past three years. They have been hard-working, resilient, and flexible and the board sees this as an opportunity to let all staff know they are appreciated.”
School officials have expressed concerns they'll have difficulty recruiting and keeping not only teachers, but also bus drivers and other key personnel due to a range of factors, from burnout due to COVID-19, staff shortages and pressure from parents and community members regarding curriculum and gender identity issues.