TIFT COUNTY, Ga. (WTXL) — The Tift County Board of Education approved a $1,000 one-time bonus to all employees of the school system, full-time and part-time.
The BOE OK’d the measure Thursday night so that the bonus can get in employees’ March paycheck before spring break. Gov. Brian P. Kemp, in his State of the State Address in January, had called for the $1,000 bonus for all K-12 grade teachers and staff for their efforts in the pandemic during the past year.
On Feb. 15, Kemp signed a supplemental midyear state budget with the bonuses to be paid, directly or indirectly, from federal COVID-19 relief funds. Tift County Schools Superintendent Adam Hathaway recommended that the bonuses be paid to the "entire team," all employees.
"We know that the state will not reimburse us for everyone," Klinton Guess, the system's chief financial officer, told the school board members.
Hathaway said every school employee has stepped up during the pandemic, including teachers, staff, food service workers, bus drivers.
"This is a token of appreciation for the hard work all of our staff has done since the beginning of the pandemic," Hathaway said.
During the board's work session earlier in the week, Hathaway noted that "what our teachers in Tift County have done through the pandemic has been nothing short of greatness."
The BOE unanimously approved the bonuses.
"Everybody has definitely earned it," said Board Chairman Jonathan Jones.
Tift County Schools released the following statement in reference to the bonus:
"We are grateful that Governor Brian Kemp and the Georgia General Assembly allotted $1000 bonuses to all teachers in the State of Georgia as part of their COVID19 response. There is not an amount of money that can make the trials of the last year simply fade from memory, however, our Board of Education has made clear its support for our whole team as they continue to strive for excellence in educating the future of Tift County."
The BOE also approved a 2021-2022 school calendar that contains no half days for students next school year. School officials said half days present issues for both parents and teachers. The first day of school will be on July 30, and the last day of classes will be May 20 next year.