The Prince William County School Board made it official on Wednesday: All teachers and school division staff will receive checks in July for year-end bonuses of up to $ 1,600.
The board voted unanimously on June 16 to use about $ 20.2 million out of about $ 35 million of funds left over from the school year that ended last week to pay bonuses. They aim to recognize the hard work and additional risks teachers and staff face as they navigate the pandemic, board members said.
During their discussion, several school board members spoke of the hundreds of school staff who worked in person in schools during the early days of the pandemic to distribute food to families, prepare and distribute supplies and supplies. computers for distance learning and for doing a myriad of other tasks that could not be done remotely.
Many teachers, administrators, bus drivers and staff worked in person from the start of the 2020-21 school year, long before COVID-19 vaccines were available, and sometimes in very close contact with students. Special education students and some students learning English as a second language attended the school in person from the start of the school year in September 2020.
School board members acknowledged that consideration had been given to trying to allocate different amounts to teachers and staff based on their individual roles, but decided that it would be too difficult to discern how to do it fairly.
Gainesville representative Jenn Wall compared staff to different parts of the same organization, each with an equally important role.
“The intention is to show the value we place on the extraordinary contributions that have been made. … We are all part of the team. We are all part of the body, ”she said. “Everyone is an important member of the Prince William County schools.”
John Wallingford, the school division’s associate superintendent for finance and risk management, said the school division had a surprisingly high end-of-year balance in part because the state did not require schools to are repaying state funding due to fewer students enrolled during the pandemic. Enrollment at Prince William County schools fell by about 2,500 students in the 2020-21 school year and fell by about 2,900 students from its projections, according to enrollment records.
The school division withdrew money from individual school budgets in the fall in anticipation of having to repay the money to the state. But state lawmakers decided in late 2020 not to seek reimbursement, leaving the division with additional funds, Wallingford said.
More money was saved because the school division decided to borrow for some capital projects instead of paying them in cash, which was the original plan before the pandemic hit.
The bonus money will be subject to a higher tax deduction than usual – 35%, Wallingford said. The deduction means that full checks for $ 1,600 will be reduced to just over $ 1,000 after tax.
Under the plan approved by the school board, the premium amounts will be adjusted for those who work part-time and for those whose employment began during the school year. The salary adjustment or the one-time minimum bonus will be $ 500.
All active teachers and occasional staff, temporary staff and retired staff who earned at least $ 1,000 in the last school year will also receive a one-time bonus of $ 500.