The Round Rock ISD board of trustees approved the implementation of a hiring and retention incentive for district employees during a Nov. 18 meeting.

Before being amended down from $1,000 split into two payments to a one-time bonus of $500 by the board due to concerns regarding volatility of the district's budget, full- and part-time employees would have received incentives split in two payments in December and June.

District documents state that employees hired on or before Nov. 29 will be eligible for the incentive, and a possible second bonus may be revisited in 2022 for future hires depending on budget availability.

Place 2 Trustee Mary Bone said that the initial $1,000 proposed may have unintentional impact on the district's budget as well as compensation for teachers.

"I don't know what the other trustees have been hearing, but the bigger issue to me is not some kind of bonus," Bone said. "The bigger issue right now is that we pay teachers for the work that they do, because that's an equity issue."

Board members discussed possibly exploring ways of compensating district employees in a more effective manner for retention and hiring than a simple bonus. Place 7 Trustee Danielle Weston said she would not support a bonus, because she had already done so with no results.

"I don't feel like the work has been done to solve the problem at a strategic level," Weston said. "I have already voted for recruitment and retention bonuses; I have done that and we still have the problems."

The bonus is not just for teachers, Place 6 Trustee Tiffanie Harrison pointed out, saying that the budget "is for everyone." Multiple board members asked that teacher compensation and retention be addressed at a future meeting.

"I think the bonus needs to happen no matter what," Harrison said. "I think we need to be digging into the organizational matters of what's making teaching hard. I want to acknowledge for clarity's sake, this proposed budget is for everyone. It's not just for teachers."