COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – In response to national and statewide employee shortages Muscogee County School District Superintendent Dr. David Lewis has proposed a new pilot program that has now been approved by the board.

The school district is rolling out a new initiative to target what they are calling “hard to fill” positions at Baker, Eddy, and Rothschild Middle Schools.

Superintendent, Dr. David Lewis, tells News 3, “It’s all about attracting and recruiting talent but also retaining the ones we have.”

Employees will receive a one-time retention stipend for committing to the following school year. That amount is based on consecutive years of commitment and whether they are benefit or non-benefit eligible.

This program was approved by the board two weeks ago but was brought back to the table Monday evening. The board went back and forth over whether Principals and Vice Principals should be included in this new pilot program.

“If 4 principals left, he would have resumes that day for principals and vice principals, but he’s not going to have resumes for teachers.”

Nickie Tillery – Board Member District 2

Board members highlighted why the project was proposed for teachers and not principals and vice principals.

“The focus is on trying to fill the positions that are hard to fill, the superintendent and the chief of human resources have made it clear to us that those positions are the teachers and administration. I think it’s great we all love our principals and vice principals. But that is not the purpose of a pilot.”

Cathy Williams – Board Member District 7

The purpose of the pilot program is to give administrators the opportunity to survey for effectiveness before bringing it back to the board to assess. The school board approved the pilot program for teachers, but not principals and vice principals.

Over the span of three years the budgetary impact will be $1,336,000.00. Funding for the program is made possible through the Federal American Rescue Plan.