The Teachers Association of Anne Arundel County reached an agreement with the Board of Education this week that will provide $50 to teaching and nonteaching staff who are asked to cover a class when a substitute teacher is not available, as well as up to $1,000 in retention bonuses for employees.
Union President Russell Leone said in a statement Friday that the agreement was a good first step toward its goal of moderating and getting compensation for the extra work they are being asked to complete amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“Educators have worked tirelessly to cover classes or groups of students for their peers who were absent due to shortages of substitute teachers. Both staff shortages and educator absences have increased over the last two years, causing educators to lose critical planning time, increase duties and responsibilities, and more,” he said in a statement.
Anne Arundel County Public Schools announced Friday that all full-time permanent employees will receive a $1,000 bonus, including teachers, food service employees, school secretaries, technology support, executives and more. Those working less than full-time will receive a prorated bonus, depending on how much they work.
The bonus pay will be divided into two payments; employees will get their first payment March 10 and the second in June, provided they work through the end of the school year or fiscal year, whatever their contract specifies.
The bonuses and the $50 in compensation for covering classes will come from the county’s allocation of federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funding, according to schools spokesperson Bob Mosier.
The school system needs to secure approval from the Maryland State Department of Education to use its ESSER funds for the bonuses and payments. Mosier said the system has amended its plan to spend ESSER money to include $6.5 million to pay employees to cover classes, and that amendment was submitted Friday.
Mosier said the amendment submitted to the state education department accounts for about $12 million in funding.
The system said in a news release that school employees have also had their work year reduced by a day, with no cut in pay, and received two hours of personal wellness time in December.
“In every school and office throughout our system, the members of our AACPS family have done far more than the public will ever see to propel our students forward. These bonuses are one small way to acknowledge that incredible work,” Superintendent George Arlotto said in a statement.