The Spring ISD board of trustees at its June 3 meeting unanimously approved a one-time supplemental payment to all full-time and half-time benefit eligible employees who are returning to work for the district next year.

According to Spring ISD Chief Financial Officer Ann Westbrooks, payments of $1,000 will be given to full-time staff members, and payments of $500 will be given to half-time staff members.

Westbrooks noted the decision to push for the incentive payments was made after a difficult year for staff members spent adjusting to challenges arising from distance learning and COVID-19.

“It is undisputed that the response to COVID-19 and the prevention and mitigation strategies have required unforeseen and unprecedented additional responsibilities and duties for all staff to ensure a safe instructional environment while facilitating excellent learning opportunities for students,” Westbrooks said. “These responsibilities and duties are far above and beyond the traditional levels of duties that our staff has had.”

Board of trustees Vice President Winford Adams Jr. noted that the payments were going out to all district employees, not solely teachers.

“This is not just the teachers,” Adams said. “This is all employees. We shower love on the teachers a lot, but I’ve encountered employees in every walk of life in the district that are going above and beyond and did whatever they needed to do to bring services to the children.”

Position 1 trustee Deborah Jensen echoed Adams’ sentiment.

“Think of what our nutrition department has done to feed the students in the community,” Jensen said. “Think of what the bus drivers have done to keep the kids separated on the bus ... [the custodians] have had huge amounts of extra work sanitizing buildings, especially after someone has been diagnosed or come up positive with COVID.”

Westbrooks noted that payments would be made to all eligible employees on their June 25 paycheck.

Although the payments are being provided as an incentive for staff members to continue to work for the district in the coming school year, Westbrooks said they are also being extended to employees who are retiring at the end of the current school year.