Funding for the employee appreciation bonus will stem from unfilled vacancies in the school system and will be rolled out to “all permanent employees except those on a leave of absence” on Dec. 16 as a gesture of appreciation, according to the superintendent.
“No school system can be great without great people,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Mark Bedell wrote in a letter to AACPS staff. “As I have said before, the work you are doing in the face of some stiff challenges is incredible. No matter your role in our school system, our students benefit every day from your dedication and passion. Please don’t ever forget that.”
Bedell will not accept the bonus for himself. The bonus is backed by the AACPS Board of Education, and the school system will not need additional funding to cover the bonuses. AAPCS took note of the “very difficult circumstances” employees had to navigate amid national woes such as inflation and the COVID-19 pandemic.
There has been a growing shortage of public school teachers nationwide.
“I fully realize that the bonus is a small gesture of appreciation,” Bedell added. “However, it is critically important to me and to the Board of Education that we continue to find ways to simply say ‘Thank You.’”
In addition to the bonus, employees will also get a healthcare premium holiday on Dec. 28, during which no premium for healthcare will be deducted from employee’s pay at that time, per an announcement from the AACPS communications office. The school system will lean on its healthcare fund balance to fund that relief.