As public school districts across the state struggle to fill vacancies, the Swain County Board of Education unanimously voted Monday night to provide bonuses for all permanent employees within the district.
On a recommendation made by Superintendent Mark Sale, the Swain County Board of Education voted to use ESSER Funding — funding provided by the federal government for Pandemic related expenditures, to provide employees with up to $1,000. The bonuses will be paid once in the Fall and once in the Spring. Swain County received over $3 million in ESSER funding, which is restricted for use relating from COVID19 expenditures. Retention bonuses for employees is an acceptable use of that funding.
All permanent employees within the school district will receive the bonuses with the exception of Superintendent Mark Sale, who has a clause within his contract which prohibits him from receiving bonuses.
The fall bonus will be given to all permanent employees —teachers, bus drivers, principals, cafeteria workers, administrative staff, any employee hired by the school system as of September 1 and who remained employed as of October 1. Eligible employees will receive $500. This spring, employees employed by the school system as of December 1 and still employed as of March 1, will receive another $500. Employees meeting both eligibility dates will receive the full $1,000.
“I am happy that we are able to find a way to show our appreciation for our employees,” said Swain County Board of Education Chairman Gerald McKinney.