DeKalb County Schools offering 6% increase, bonuses to retain teachers and staff

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — DeKalb County Schools are giving all of their employees a 6% bonus as part of a new round of incentives to keep and hire employees during a nationwide worker shortage.

The district also plans to offer $1,000 gift cards to any staff member who got vaccinated and a $2,00 bonus to new hires. The district will also give out $500 rewards for things like wellness and attendance.

It’s all part of a plan called Choose DeKalb.

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Channel 2′s Carol Sbarge was in DeKalb County, where Superintendent Cheryl Watson-Harris said they will not mandate the vaccine, but are hoping a strong incentive will work to encourage teachers to get vaccinated.

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“We recognize that we have to do something different to recruit limited staff that’s out there that are looking to come to school districts,” Watson-Harris said.

Watson-Harris said it’s also important to hold on to the teachers and staff the district has.

“We want to make sure that not only are we retaining our staff, but we’re showing them we value them and how much we recognize the challenging times we’re in,” Watson-Harris said.

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The Choose DeKalb initiative comes as some school bus drivers didn’t show up for work on Friday. Watson-Harris said she’s met with drivers who have safety concerns twice this week.

“We continue to stay in communication and make sure we continue to keep our students and staff safe,” Watson-Harris said.

A DeKalb bus driver died Wednesday, though district officials did not release a cause of death.

“Condolences go out to the family,” Watson-Harris said. “Quite naturally, every member of our community is valued and honored. Our hearts and prayers go out to the family at this time.”