The Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Board of Education unanimously approved retention bonuses for all staff, including retirees, Tuesday night. 

Eligible employees will receive $1,500 before tax paid in two installments.

The first will be a holiday bonus of $500 paid on Dec. 16. The second will be paid on Jan. 13 next year. 

Staff members must be employed as of Dec. 5 and remain employed through January to receive the bonus. 

Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools Chief Finance Officer Thomas Kranz explained the reason for the bonuses at the meeting on Nov. 15. 

“Our major goal is staffing. It’s making sure that we continue to keep the staff we have, that we’re able to remain competitive, and can find additional staff,” he said. 

Kranz says that based on 8,000 employees, the bonuses will cost $12 million. 

The money for this will come from the district’s Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund, which is federal money intended to address the impacts of COVID-19. 

Forsyth County Association of Educators President Val Young spoke in support of the bonuses at the meeting. 

“Thank you for giving the same bonus to everyone. It levels the field for all our staff because you, as well as I, know that when you feel like you're valued, when you put something to it like a retention bonus that everybody's getting, it makes everybody feel like we are a team,” she said. 

Since August, 216 district employees have resigned.

Amy Diaz covers education for WFDD in partnership with Report For America. You can follow her on Twitter at @amydiaze.

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