The Westlake Town Council discussed giving retention payments to employees of its charter school.

At the Feb. 7 meeting, the Town Council—which also serves as the Westlake Academy board of trustees—considered funding retention payments for teachers to thank them and follow what other local school districts have been doing to increase teacher retention.

Westlake Academy Superintendent and Town Manager Amanda DeGan proposed that the district give $2,000 retention payments for all full-time staff members and $1,000 for part-time staff and “significant sub-staff.” The payments would be funded through the academy’s general fund and the Westlake Academy Foundation.

The agenda item’s memo cited recent news articles reporting that many of Westlake Academy’s surrounding school districts have been approving retention payments. Keller ISD and Northwest ISD are two examples of districts that have recently implemented retention payments.

However, the memo notes that many districts have reserve funds or have gotten Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funding through the state of Texas due to the COVID-19 pandemic to cover those payments.

“Westlake Academy did not receive the large allocations that local ISDs received, nor did we receive as much funding as charter schools who have a higher enrollment of underserved students,” the memo states. “Thus, our ability to use reserve funding for this allocation is constrained.”

All Westlake Town Council members voiced support for the retention payments. Council will officially vote on the retention payments at its next meeting Feb. 28.