Elkhart Independent School District employees received direct deposits of up to $2,000 each on April 1, but it was no laughing matter. The school board awarded $286,000 in one-time payment incentives to 190 faculty and support staff across the district to thank and compensate them.
The April remittance is the third payment in the 2021-2022 school year and directly supports employee motivation and student learning.
Payments were distributed to two groups in amounts of $2,000 or $500. The district’s 128 administrators, directors, lead supervisors, counselors, certified librarians, nurses, teachers and technology professionals are part of Group 1 and received $2,000 each. Group 2, which includes bus drivers, custodians, maintenance workers, and paraprofessionals received $500 each.
The school board voted for the deposits last month, which followed similar payments made in November and February. Approval of each round of remittances depended on the school board’s review of the EISD budget.
Funds are currently available due to grants allocated by the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Funds. The U.S. Department of Education distributed $122 billion in ESSER funds to 52 state departments of education in January.
Congress allocated the funds in response to the COVID-19 emergency, which has affected education and learning across the U.S. After receiving the federal emergency funds, the Texas Education Agency distributed grants to school districts across the state.
Superintendent Lamont Smith, EdD, said the payments show the district’s appreciation for employees’ hard work while providing competitive compensation.
“We are proud and appreciative of our staff and we try to demonstrate it,” Smith said. “We have high expectations for students and staff, but we also try to reward them for their efforts as much as possible.”
Smith said the district plans to issue similar one-time payments in the future and thanked the school board for approving the funds.
“Having an outstanding board allows me to navigate the system and do what is best for our district,” Smith said. “The EISD administration and school board is committed to supporting staff and providing competitive compensation structures.”