CMS Board of Education Doubles Retention Bonus for Employees, Visiting Teachers Now Included

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) — Thousands of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools employees are getting an extra boost in their retention bonuses.

On Tuesday, the CMS School Board unanimously approved increased retention bonus amounts for all full-time and part-time staff.

In December 2021, the board approved a bonus of $2,500 for full-time employees and $1,250 for part-time employees. This did not include guest teachers or daily substitutes. The first payment was made in December and the second in September.

“It means extra shopping, gas goes up, I want to buy a house, so I’m very excited about the extra money,” said CMS guest teacher Karen Stokes.

Tuesday’s vote included guest teachers and increased the amount to $5,000 for full-time employees and $2,500 for part-time employees.

It will cost $49 million and will come from US bailout funding.

It also allowed visiting teachers to receive a retention bonus. Olympic High School guest teacher Karen Stokes says she was grateful to be recognized for her hard work.

“I feel like I’m part of it now. I’m sure I speak on behalf of all the visiting teachers that we really play a part and should be recognized for our efforts,” Stokes said.

CMS Custodian Brandon Chuck Brown says the increase is worth it, especially for other employees who contribute to the school system.

“For the work that the average janitor, cafeteria worker, bus drivers have provided, I think it’s a good start, but we’re looking forward to getting more bonuses throughout the year” , Brown said.

Robert Wright is an exceptional children’s teacher at Olympic High School.

Wright says every dollar helps, but he hopes the district will use federal funds for long-term support, especially in times of staff shortages and added responsibilities.

“It’s beyond financial support, it’s great, but what do we do to really lift our spirits as a CMS support system, as a teacher support system and as a human being, how does that help us rather than just give us money?” Wright said.

Wright acknowledged bonuses were helpful, especially to make ends meet, but pushed for higher salaries.

“Nice to have, no one will ever complain about having more extra money to support themselves; however, what is the most permanent solution we are considering? How is this going to affect teachers in the long run,” Wright said.

“I hope county and state officials will recognize the fact that we are doing a tremendous job and we should be paid for it,” Stokes said.

Several board members have acknowledged that increasing premiums is not a long-term solution, which is why they are asking for more support from county and state partners.

“You all need a permanent durable solution and that will require county and state support,” said Board Chair Elyse Dashew.

“I mean this bonus is wonderful, we need to encourage our state and county partners to significantly increase the salaries of our employees,” said District 4 Board Member Carol Sawyer.

“I also call on our Heads of State to make a significant salary increase,” said At-Large Member Jennifer De La Jara. “We need the help of our partners.”

The next part of the bonus will be paid out this month, then again in September and November.

Employees who joined the district before December 31 of last year will receive their share of the bonus this month.

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