Lee County School employees will receive $700 payment as pandemic worsens

Alabama News

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – SEPTEMBER 24: A teacher wears a mask and teaches remotely from her classroom on September 24, 2020 in New York City. New York City, the nation’s largest school district opened its classrooms to remote teaching this week and plans to open in-person blended teaching and learning next week. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)

LEE COUNTY, Ala. (WRBL) – A historically challenging year for teachers and all school staff across the country is expected to worsen as we head into 2021. That’s why the Lee County School Superintendent and School Board has approved a $700 check for every Lee County Schools employee just before the holiday.

Ken Roberts, the Chief School Financial Officer for Lee County Board of Education, tells News 3 funds were approved this week by the school board and will be available this time next week, on December 17. One thousand two hundred twenty-five employees will be paid for a total cost of $923,000. 

“I recommend that the Board, under Lee County Board of Education Policy 6.14.5, approve one-time lump compensation in the amount of $700, less normal and customary withholdings, payable on December 17, 2020, to all Lee County Schools employees, employed as of that date, except for the Superintendent of Lee County Schools,” said Roberts.

2020 has been a year unlike teachers and support staff have ever seen. Online learning, virtual classrooms, in-person teaching protected by masks and face shields have made work both in and out of the classroom difficult for all educators, support staff, bus drivers, and everyone associated with operating a school system in the middle of a global and deadly pandemic. The task is expected to get even more challenging in 2021.

“The lump-sum supplemental compensation shall be in consideration of prospective performance by all recipient employees, as expected in the system’s Spring 2021 semester, during which the delivery of quality instruction, as well as for support of school and system operations, is expected to be more challenging and difficult as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,” said Roberts.

Superintendent Mac McCoy says educators and staff have done an excellent job.

“The seven hundred dollar one-time supplement in recognition of the fact that educating the children over the next several months is going to be extremely challenging. We appreciate all employees and their commitment to our children, said Dr. Mac McCoy.

The funds come from a reserve set aside for emergency expenses. The funds came from reserves designated for one-time spending, a plan based on the instructional, operational and financial goals of the Board. The total cost of the lump-sum payment was about one-third of the total reserves designated for one-time spending. The remainder will be spent based on priorities established by the Board and Superintendent.

News 3 reached out to both Auburn and Opelika City Schools who report as of now they have no plans on releasing additional payments to employees.

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