In line with the San Marcos CISD board of trustees’ action taken before the start of the school year that provided a $250 incentive for all school district staff to get a COVID-19 vaccine, the board also approved a stipend Dec. 13 to incentivize staff to also obtain a booster shot.

The $100 stipend—approved on a 4-3 vote with trustees Kathy Hanson, Mari Salmi and Margie Villalpando voting against the measure—will be paid both to school staff who already received a booster and to any staff once they provide proof of receiving it.

“I don’t think any vaccine incentive that we have previously done has reached 100% staff participation. At most it would be $120,000, but I don’t think we’re going to meet that,” trustee Miguel Arredondo said.

The board also passed annual retention payments to all staff as it had done last year.

“The district wishes to offer a retention payment as we value our employees,” said Marcela Baez, assistant superintendent of human resources.

“$1,000 [will] be paid out in $500 increments, one in December and one in May much like what was approved last year,” she said. The funding for the payments would come from Elementary and Secondary Schools Emergency Relief funds, she said. ESSER funding is part of the federal Coronavirus Aid Relief, and Economic Security Act.

All district employees will receive the payment with the exception of substitute teachers. The measure passed unanimously.