Full-time employees of Hickory Public Schools will receive $2,000 in bonuses if the person is still with the school system next May. Part-time employees can earn a $1,000 bonus.
The bonus plan was announced Monday night as the school system unveiled a six-part plan to spend more than $1.7 million of the nearly $12 million the district received in federal pandemic relief money.
The district will also use the funds to hire 18 full-time substitutes at a cost of approximately $250,000. Each school will receive two full-time substitutes to help out wherever they are needed during each school day.
The money is part of the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER-I, II and III).
Superintendent Bryan Taylor presented the plan to, he said, help boost morale and support staff and struggling students. The plan was approved by the Hickory Public Schools Board of Education in a unanimous vote.
The district plans to hire five behavioral specialists or behavioral support staff, two for Hickory High School, one for Hickory Career and Arts Magnet High School (HCAM), one for Northview Middle School and one for Grandview Middle School. Each specialist would receive $45,000. The positions are grant funded and will only last through the end of the year, Taylor said.
“We’ve talked about some of the incidents and behavior that we are dealing with. Young people are struggling with that transition back to five days a week and that structure. It’s tough,” Taylor said. “An argument will start on social media or out in the neighborhood, and then it’s brought to school. They are going to settle it at school or after school. That’s where they see each other and where they are all together.”