Cherokee County School District Superintendent Brian Hightower wants to give bonuses to employees beyond those covered by recent state funding.

Last month, the State Board of Education approved “educator bonuses” of $1,000 for full-time school employees and $490 for part-time using federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act funds. Hightower is recommending that the school board extend these bonuses to $2,000 for full-time staff, except the superintendent and cabinet members, and $1,000 for part-time staff, when the board meets Thursday, per the board’s meeting agenda. School board members have asked for an expansion of bonuses, according to the school district.

The superintendent is also recommending bonuses ranging between $500 and $2,000 for substitute teachers, based on the number of days worked, with the minimum being five days during the school year.

The difference between the state’s CARES Act funding and the full bonus will be covered by restored state funding to CCSD, according to the district.

“This bonus pay is intended to recognize the hard work and dedication of every eligible member of the CCSD family of employees in the highly successful, on-time reopening of schools to include both in-person and digital learning for the Cherokee County community this year,” district staff wrote in the agenda.

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Shannon Ballew is the managing editor at the Cherokee Tribune and the Cherokee Ledger-News. She is a graduate of Young Harris College and lives in unincorporated Woodstock.

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