Wayne County public school administrators and the county board of education plan to reward educators, school teachers and staff for their extra efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We know this school year has come with a great many challenges for staff,” Superintendent David Lewis said. “In particular, we have experienced staffing shortages across all areas creating extra work for school and department personnel.

“This new series of retention bonuses is intended to help staff know that we value their work as we continue to provide a high level of service and support to our students, families and community.”

In the fall, district officials announced a planned retention bonus for staff who remained employed with Wayne County Public Schools through the first 18 months of the pandemic, said Ken Derksen, WCPS executive director for community engagement and student and family support. Three different types of bonuses will be provided to teachers and staff.

A fall semester bonus of $1,000 will be provided to each staff member employed on or before Sept. 15 and remaining continuously employed as of Dec. 17.

A spring semester bonus of $1,000 will be provided to each staff member employed on or before Feb. 9, 2022, and remaining continuously employed as of June 13, 2022.

A monthly substitute teacher bonus of $250 will be provided to each substitute teacher who works at least 10 days or the equivalent of 10 days in a given payroll period. The monthly substitute teacher retention bonus will be made retroactive to the beginning of the 2021-22 school year.

The bonuses were approved to recognize the extra effort that has helped the school district get through challenges of the pandemic and also to help Wayne County Public Schools attract and retain qualified employees who can help the school system with needed academic recovery efforts, Derksen said.

“Every employee has a valuable and important role to play in the education of our students,” Lewis said. “Wayne County Public Schools and the Wayne County Board of Education hope that these bonuses, along with any pay raises that may be coming with the passage of the state budget, demonstrate the school district’s commitment to our staff and our sincere appreciation for all that you are doing this school year.”

Funding for the retention bonuses was through the school district’s Elementary and Secondary Emergency Relief plan and budget, which were approved by the N.C. Department of Public Instruction, Derksen said.

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