Alamance-Burlington school board members voted 7-0 this week to award a $500 bonus to ABSS child nutrition employees who work this summer, at an overall cost estimated at $50,000.
School board members also voted unanimously Monday night to award a $645 bonus to 1,791 ABSS teachers, instructional support personnel, and three school nurses, at an overall cost of about $1.2 million.
This marks the third or fourth round of state- and federally-funded bonuses that ABSS employees have been awarded since 2020, though earlier bonuses had been intended to reward staff for continuing to report to work at the the height of the pandemic.
The $500 “summer feeding” bonuses will be funded by $218,643 in federal stimulus money that the state Department of Public Instruction has said can only be used for bonuses to help recruit and retain child nutrition workers, ABSS chief business officer Jeremy Teetor told school board members during their latest meeting Monday night.
Teetor estimates that between 60 and 100 employees in the child nutrition department will want to do the “summer feeding program” this year, which he said would put the maximum total cost for this year at around $50,000.
The bonuses will be offered to child nutrition workers who serve food at elementary schools that host the third-grade summer reading camps (known as the Read to Achieve program) and a second iteration of an expanded summer school program (“Summer Bridge”) at ABSS middle and high schools. The “Summer Bridge” program was established and funded by legislation that the General Assembly passed in 2021 to help students overcome “learning losses” experienced as a result of the move to online instruction at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, Teetor explained this week.
Schools that host the reading camps and summer school programs offer breakfast, lunch, and a snack to participating students, ABSS officials elaborated Tuesday in response to an inquiry from The Alamance News.
The cost for the one-time bonuses for certified teachers and instructional support personnel will total approximately $1.2 million, based on figures Teetor provided to the newspaper Tuesday. ABSS has received a separate pot of money – $1.5 million “low-wealth” supplemental funding – as part of the state budget that the General Assembly passed late last year, Teetor said Monday night.
Pre-Kindergarten teachers and instructional support personnel within that program had been excluded from the state’s funding guidelines, which capped the maximum supplement at $688 per employee, Teetor said.
However, the chief business officer said he didn’t feel comfortable excluding certain categories of employees and, instead, proposed reducing the bonuses to $645 per person in order to give pre-K teachers and their support personnel a bonus, as well. Teetor added that ABSS would need to use $20,208 in pre-K funding to offset the costs for those bonuses; he also recommended using $2,526 in county funding to give three school nurses bonuses of $645.
The 1,791 ABSS employees who will receive the bonuses are “certified” teachers and instructional support personnel, meaning their positions require state licensure, Teetor told the board Monday night.
School board members voted unanimously, 7-0, to award the $500 bonuses to child nutrition employees who work this summer and to award the $645 “low-wealth supplement” to teachers, instructional support personnel, and the three school nurses.