Christmas has come early for several eligible teachers at the Fort Smith School District in Arkansas, as they will receive a bonus payment of $1,500 on Thursday.
The bonuses are set to provide relief to nearly all teachers at Fort Smith public schools for working through the COVID-19 pandemic and will be paid out of the federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund budget. The payments were approved on May 9 by the school board and will be delivered by Dec. 15, according to Talk Business.
“Qualified staff include classroom teachers and other department level certified staff, including but not limited to, interventionists, instructional specialists, special education coordinators, and adult education teachers,” read an email from Charles Warren, Fort Smith Public Schools’s chief financial officer. “School-level administrators (such as principals and assistant principals) will also qualify.”
Some school staff, including district-level administrators such as department directors, will not qualify for this payment. Nurses, police officers, and professional support staff also do not qualify, as they have separate salary schedules, according to Warren’s email.
Teachers are also set to receive a benefit from the Certified Salary Schedule, which will raise their salaries by $3,471.81 annually, a 5.89% pay increase for the 2022-2023 school year.
The bonus payments are being paid as many people are still facing high inflation during the busy Christmas season. The Bureau of Labor Statistics report published Tuesday showed annual inflation slowing to 7.1% in November, outpacing the projected 7.3%.