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FWCS teachers, staff awarded up to $2k in stipends thanks to COVID-19 relief funds

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FWCS Superintendent Back to School announcement (Dr. Mark Daniel)
FWCS Superintendent Dr. Mark Daniel.

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA21) - Bonuses have been ratified for close to 4,000 Fort Wayne Community Schools employees, extra pay they are being awarded for work done and challenges met during the pandemic.

The district's board of school trustees voted Monday evening to authorize the $1,000 to $2,000 stipends.

The bonuses would impact teachers, administrators, food service workers, bus drivers and others.

The money to pay the stipends comes from Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER II) funds, authorized as part of the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act.

Salaried teachers and administrators who worked the full school year are in line to receive $2,000, while all other salaried employees and school-based hourly staff are scheduled to receive $1,500 checks.

Other hourly-based staff will receive $1,000 stipends.

The money is prorated, meaning those hired to work starting in the middle of the school year, they would get lesser amounts in each category.

FWCS Superintendent Dr. Mark Daniel talked for weeks with school board members and representatives of the Fort Wayne Community Schools teacher's union, called the Fort Wayne Education Association, about using part of the federal COVID relief monies for payment of stipends.

"It's a significant amount, we are going to pay our teachers and other building personnel $2,000, bonus pay, it's hazard pay. They deserve it, they went above and beyond the call of duty," said board member Steve Corona.

"Teachers have put in so much work this year, you can't even begin to imagine. We've been open in-person from day one all the way across, plus doing all the virtual and everything else, and teachers have just been working non-stop, so this is really well deserved," said teacher's union president Sandra Vohs.

The big urban school district is receiving around $150-million in COVID relief funds, part of which will also be used to bankroll things like summer school, mentoring programs, and physical improvements to the corporation's facilities, such as upgrades to heating and air conditioning systems.

Around $7-million is being dedicated to the staff bonuses.

The money will appear in employee paychecks sometime in the month of June.

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