Prince William County school district unanimously passes pandemic bonuses for teachers

Bonus checks will soon be coming for thousands of teachers and staff employees within in Prince William County Public Schools.

The Board of Education unanimously voted to give the teacher bonuses for working through the hazards of the pandemic Wednesday night.

It’s a way to thank employees who worked really hard, as kids learned from home for much of the year.

READ MORE: Prince William County break-ins surging as pandemic winds down

Many teachers across the country and in the DMV started off the challenging year teaching virtually and then half way through the year, so many of them had to come back into the school buildings.

Barbie Lateef, school board chairman At-Large told FOX 5’s Ayesha Khan Wednesday, the board had been searching for a way to reward staff for their willingness to work through the hazards of the pandemic, during the phased return to in-person learning.

That included needing educators for  students, such as those with special needs or who were learning English as a second language, who returned to in-person learning back in September.

According to the proposal, all full-time employees will receive a one-time bonus of $1,600. Those working part-time and for those whose employment began during the middle of the school year, the minimum one-time pay adjustment or bonus will be $500.

READ MORE: Prince William County School Board wants Gov to drop social distancing for outdoor graduations

"Absolutely they should get a bonus," said Kenni Walker, a mother of three PWCPS students.

"I mean they’ve had to manage doing virtual and then having some kids in the classroom and that’s been doubly challenging for them. We all have had to adapt but I know how difficult it is to engage children online."

Lateef said the more than $20 million in left-over money comes from not spending any of it over the last year because much of the year was virtual. In addition, the school board had to cut last year’s raises so the board decided they had to somehow find a way to make up for it.

"In Prince William we are the lowest paid teachers in the region compared to our neighbors and so a lot of the work I do is to try and catch up to the other school divisions, so this is part of that as well," said Lateef.

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"I got an email from parents saying, ‘You should give me the bonus, I spent a lot of time working with my students,’ but I have four children in elementary, middle and high school and I share their frustrations and recognize the challenges that they faced over the year. And while I understand that, it doesn’t take away from the fact that our teachers did work hard."