Current and newly hired employees who work in positions that most directly impact the safety, security and health of students and staff at Fort Bend ISD will receive one-time retention and recruitment payments worth $2.1 million.

Supplements of $1,000 will be paid to current full-time, benefits-eligible FBISD employees and new hires in positions including police officers, special education teachers, special education aides, registered nurses, licensed vocational nurses, bus drivers and bus monitors, according to a June 30 news release. Bus drivers and monitors will receive $500, while part-time bus drivers and monitors who are not eligible for benefits will receive $250.

New candidates who join the district by Dec. 31 will be eligible to receive the recruitment supplement payment, according to the announcement. Current designated employees will receive their supplement Sept. 15.

“With a budget deficit of $50 million, the decision to pay the supplemental incentives was a challenging one as we continue to work hard to reduce the shortfall and increase revenues,” FBISD Superintendent Christie Whitbeck said in the announcement. “But I felt strongly about doing this because the safety, health and wellbeing of our students is always our most important objective. If we don’t have that, learning cannot effectively take place.”

The decision by FBISD administration to provide supplemental payments comes as the district faces an approximately $49 million shortfall in the 2022-23 school year. The $2.1 million used for the retention and recruitment payments comes from Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funds not used to help fill the budget shortfall due to lower-than-anticipated expenses, according to the district.

The FBISD board of trustees, meanwhile, approved a resolution during a June 30 special meeting supporting the supplemental payments.