Employees at Cherokee County School District will soon see bonuses for up to $2,000.

The Cherokee County school board voted unanimously Thursday to approve $11.48 million in bonuses, extending payments authorized by the Georgia Department of Education last month.

Full-time school employees will receive $2,000, $1,000 of which is funded by the state. Part-time employees will receive $1,000, $490 funded by the state, according to the district. Through district funding, substitute teachers who have worked at least five days in the school year will receive bonuses ranging between $500 and $2,000. The superintendent and cabinet members will not be part of the bonuses.

Superintendent Brian Hightower said it was important to recognize teachers and staff for their work during the pandemic. Employees will see the bonuses in their April paychecks.

“We’re extremely proud of the work that our teams have done,” he said at the school board meeting Thursday. “In the face of a worldwide pandemic, we’ve had public school, and so we’re extremely proud of our employees, and want to be able to reward them in this manner.”

The state’s portion — $4.8 million — came from Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act funding recommended by Gov. Brian Kemp for teacher bonuses. The district’s — $6.6 million — came from state funding that had been cut due to “austerity” budget cuts, but was partially restored by the General Assembly, school board Chair Kyla Cromer said.

“Every member of the CCSD family is going to see something whether they’re part-time or full-time, and I’m very proud of that,” she said. “Bonus and education are not usually two words that ever go together. So the fact that teachers get a bonus is phenomenal.”

The school district is Cherokee County’s largest employer, with 5,000 employees. Of those, 2,800 are certified educators, according to CCSD.

Also at the meeting, the school board:

♦ Approved monthly personnel changes, including naming Mike Santoro the principal at Creekview High School and Tia Bryller the principal at Woodstock Middle School next school year;

♦ Approved Citigroup Global Markets as the bond underwriter for bond sales for the pending referendum in November to renew the five-year education sales tax, for a fee of 2.75%. Last year’s fee rate from Citigroup was 4.4%.

♦ Approved school calendars for the 2022-23, 2023-24 and 2024-25 school years. For the calendars, visit bit.ly/CCSDcalendars♦ .

♦ Heard a request from Diana Latimer, a parent of students at multiple schools including Creekview, that the district recognize its graduating seniors with a special senior field day event;

♦ Renamed the former Ace Academy facility the ACTIVE Academies Campus, and officially named the district’s new all-virtual program i-Grad Virtual Academy;

♦ Dedicated Sequoyah High School’s band room the David E. Harrison Center for Music Performance in honor of the school’s first band director, who died unexpectedly in May.

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