All Gwinnett County school employees getting year-end bonus

GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. — Sometimes something nice happens in 2020. In Gwinnett County, that’s a year-end bonus for all school district employees.

Gwinnett County school officials took some heat by announcing a few weeks ago that teachers and a few other district employees would get a $700 bonus, but not bus drivers and other district employees who also face the risk of coronavirus.

Now district leaders say they always intended to give the money to all employees, but the timing had to be right.

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“I can tell by the enthusiasm we are all really excited to do this. I think our employees will appreciate this,” board member Everton Blair Jr. said as the board voted to approve the bonus.

The school board approved the bonus for 12,000 teachers in November. Administrators say the second round will cover an additional 9,000 full time employees. The total cost is about $8 million.

The district faced backlash from bus drivers, para pros and other workers in recent weeks because they felt left out.

“It hurts and feels disrespectful to consider these employees an after-thought in all the hard work we do daily,” special education para pro Destiny McCowan told Channel 2′s Tony Thomas.

Superintendent Alvin Wilbanks says it was all about managing cash flow and timing. The coronavirus pandemic delayed property tax receipts, which meant cash didn’t come in to the district until Dec. 1. Handing out the bonuses in two phases prevented the district from dipping into it’s year-end balance.

This one time salary adjustment will be paid in a lump sum and included in the January 2021 check, according to Wilbanks.

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