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Gwinnett school staff to get December bonuses, new holiday

November 27, 2021 GMT

LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. (AP) — All active school district employees in Gwinnett County eligible for benefits are in line to get $1,000 in bonuses next month as well as a paid Juneteenth holiday next year.

Superintendent Calvin Watts recommended the bonuses to the county’s Board of Education, which approved them unanimously, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

The bonus will be paid in a lump sum in the December monthly paycheck for about 21,500 employees, including teachers, administrators and support personnel, according to a news release from Gwinnett County Public Schools. The one-time bonuses’ $21.5 million cost will not tie up future budgets or decrease the year-end fund balance, the news release said.

“For the third school year, our employees have done a remarkable job of addressing the needs of students during the pandemic,” Watts said.

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Board member Steven Knudsen praised Watts for recommending the bonuses.

“This is a great thing to do at this time, after 18 months of the pandemic, inflationary concerns, all the things that come into it,” Knudsen said at the board meeting.

Chairman Everton Blair said he believes this is the sixth raise or bonus the Gwinnett school district has given in his three years on the board. Last year, the district gave one-time payments of $700 to full-time employees.

“I just really appreciate the opportunity to be able to recognize the hard work that, not just our teachers, but all of our full-time staff members have been doing,” he said. “You’ll always have a ‘yes’ vote from me when it comes to paying people who are working hard and making us really meet the needs of our students.”

Atlanta Public Schools is also considering $1,000 stipends next month for all its 6,000 workers, including part-time employees.

A few other metro Atlanta school districts, including APS, Clayton and Fulton County Schools, have made Juneteenth a paid holiday starting next year for employees.