Gwinnett County Public Schools officials confirmed that $1,000 bonuses for educators that Gov. Brian Kemp and State School Superintendent Richard Woods announced earlier this year will indeed show up in paychecks set to go out at the end of this month.
The bonuses are designed to thank school employees for their work during the COVID-19 pandemic. They will be available to active benefits-eligible employees such as teachers, paraprofessionals, school counselors, school psychologists, school nurses, custodians, bus drivers, school nutrition staff, media specialists, clerical staff, school principals, assistant principals and instructional coaches.
GCPS officials said employees who fit the criteria and were employed as of last Thursday will get the bonus. The district also said all active long-term substitute teachers are set to receive $1,000 as well. Retirees who have come back to work part-time will receive $490. In all, more than than 21,000 GCPS employees are set to get a bonus.
“Our staff members have done a tremendous job throughout the pandemic, serving and caring for students,” GCPS Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks said in a statement. “They have gone above and beyond in carrying out their duties and that work has taken place in classrooms, on school buses, in school cafeterias, in maintenance shops, and in offices across the district.
“We appreciate this gesture from the state and felt it appropriate to extend this ‘thank you’ to all of our employees who have worked tirelessly to keep our schools open and operations going.”
School system officials told the Daily Post during a discussion on the school system’s budget last month that they expected the bonuses to show up on the paychecks of eligible employees in their paychecks this month, but they added that they were awaiting a decision from the State Board of Education on the plan for distributing the bonuses.
That decision to approve the plan was made by the state board at its meeting in March.
The school system's proposed $2.4 billion fiscal year 2022 budget include $1,000 cost-of-living increases for each step on the district's teacher salary schedule and a 2% cost-of-living increase for other employee salary schedules in the district.
The funding for the bonuses comes from federal coronavirus relief money. GCPS is set to receive $21 million in relief funds to cover most of the bonuses, as well as associated Medicare costs, and the district will use money from its general fund to cover about 600 employees.
The bonuses are separate from $1,000 raises that teachers may receive in the 2021-2022 school year as part of the district’s proposed fiscal year 2022 budget.