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OPINION

SISD gives teachers $1K COVID-19 bonus

Michael Hutchins
Herald Democrat
Sherman Independent School District staff were surprised Friday with a $1,000 bonus check in recognition of efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Members of Sherman Independent School District leadership and the school board surprised all full-time staff on Friday with a one-time $1,000 bonus check in recognition of their efforts over the past year.

The check comes during an uncertain year for many educators and district staff due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The outbreak led the district to temporarily adopt distance learning earlier this year, and other changes related to the pandemic response.

"Obviously, it was a surprise to every individual; they had no idea it was coming," SISD Communications Director Kimberly Simpson said. "The reason for it is as an acknowledgement from our board that employees have been working extended hours due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

They absolutely recognize that and wanted to show the appreciation for the hard work and the fact that they know it is a difficult time during COVID-19."

The funds were approved last week during the school's board's monthly meeting as a part of the consent agenda. 

Simpson said the bonuses went out to all full-time staff, which included educators, bus drivers, custodial staff and administration, among others. In total, she said the bonuses cost the district about $1.1 million.

"I think that throughout COVID-19 people have wanted to do something nice for our teachers and staff members," Simpson said. "I know personally myself I saw how hard they were working — everyone did."

The bonuses were given out during a professional development day on Friday. Members of the board and district senior leadership met with staff at each school campus and played a video from SISD Superintendent David Hicks, who thanked them for their service in recent months.

"We were met with screams, happy tears and just overall excitement from the teaching staff," Simpson said.

The past year has been a time of learning and adjusting to the new normal of life during COVID-19. Teachers and other staff had to adjust to new duties, including teaching students who were physically in the classroom, among other realities during the pandemic.

"Our teachers are being very resilient — our staff members are being very resilient," Simpson said. "A lot of people are doing things that they normally don't do or isn't typically in their job description, but everyone is remaining positive."