- A South Carolina district will give teachers $US2,500 ($AU3,387) bonuses to stay for the new school year.
- Marlboro County School District said it was struggling to retain teachers during the pandemic.
- Some states have used federal funds to offer one-time bonuses to teaching staff.
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Teachers in South Carolina are being handed $US2,500 ($AU3,387) “thank you” bonuses as schools struggle to retain staff after a tumultuous 18 months.
Several states are using federal stimulus funds to pay teachers morale-boosting one-time bonuses to thank them for their work during the pandemic, the Wall Street Journal reported.
South Carolina’s Marlboro Country School District announced in a July 12 board meeting that it would pay $US2,500 ($AU3,387) retention bonuses to teachers who stay in post for the full 2021-22 academic year, WMBF News reported.
“Retaining high-quality teachers was difficult enough before the pandemic, but post-pandemic the task has become even more challenging, especially for small districts,” Dr. Gregory McCord, superintendent for Malboro district, said at the meeting, per WMBF.
“We are happy to say thank you to our returning certified classroom teachers. Although this money will not match their true worth, we do want teachers to know they are valued.”
School districts in California, Colorado, Tennessee, and Texas have also signed off on one-time bonuses to teachers to help keep them in post, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Georgia’s Department of Education approved $US1,000 ($AU1,355) bonuses to most of its school staff in March, including teachers, bus drivers, and cafeteria workers, according to an information pamphlet.
The bonuses for Georgia teachers, totalling $US240 ($AU325) million, are being paid for with pandemic stimulus funds from the federal government. Under President Biden’s American Rescue Plan, public elementary and secondary schools nationwide were awarded $US122 ($AU165) billion altogether in March 2021 to help expand in-person learning and make up for lost learning during the pandemic.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the massive COVID-19 relief bill, passed in March last year, earmarked $US13.5 ($AU18) billion for public schools to cope with school shutdowns and moving to online learning, per Education Week.
A survey by RAND, a policy think tank, published in June revealed that almost a quarter of US teachers were likely to quit the profession by the end of the 2021 school year, compared with one in six before the pandemic.
Schools acted quickly to move learning online at the start of the pandemic in March 2020, but teachers have said that longer hours, increased financial worries, and health concerns have made life harder.