ATLANTA — Georgia’s public-school teachers and school-level staff members are about to receive a thank you from the state to the tune of $1,000.
Gov. Brian Kemp made the announcement Thursday is his annual ‘State of the State’ address. He says it’s a gesture to thank teachers and staff members who have adapted over the last year to meet the challenges of COVID-19.
“In a day and age where so much is thrown at those investing in our children on the front lines, the additional burdens of remote learning, social distancing, wearing a mask, adapting to the new normal — honestly made educating overwhelming,” said Kemp. “But the great men and women running Georgia’s schools didn’t miss a beat. From principals, teachers, custodians, bus drivers, and support staff on down, their actions have inspired us all.”
State School Superintendent Richard Woods will officially recommend the bonus be approved at the board’s meeting on Feb. 18.
"Our teachers and school staff have done extraordinary work in the last ten months,” Superintendent Woods said. "At the onset of the pandemic, they essentially reinvented the educational delivery system in the space of a weekend, and since then have continued to show up for their students, whether virtually or in-person. What we've asked of them has been far from easy, and we are providing these bonuses as a tangible gesture of our gratitude and respect for their work and sacrifices, and as a means of retaining these dedicated educators and support personnel who make educating our students possible. This is about restoring hope for our educational workforce – during these unprecedented times, we must continue to invest in the people who directly serve students and make our education system run.”
The payments will be from two sources: around $60 million from the Governor’s Office and around $180 million from the state Department of Education’s CARES 2 stimulus fund reserves.
Bonuses are not required or listed under CARES 2 funds, but the U.S. Department of Education says they are an allowable expense.
The funds will be allocated to school districts to distribute to staff and they must be spent on bonus payments.