Fort Smith School District in Arkansas will provide a welcome financial boost to its teachers in the form of a bonus payment of $1,500, according to an email from Charles Warren, Fort Smith Public Schools’ chief financial officer.
The bonuses, which will be paid out on December 15, are designed to provide relief to nearly all teachers at Fort Smith public schools for their efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic. The payments were approved on May 9 by the school board and will be paid out of the federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund budget.
According to Warren’s email, qualified staff includes classroom teachers, instructional specialists, special education coordinators, and adult education teachers, as well as school-level administrators. However, some school staff, including district-level administrators and nurses, police officers, and professional support staff, do not qualify for the bonus payment.
In addition to the bonus payment, teachers at the Fort Smith School District will also receive a pay increase through the Certified Salary Schedule, which will raise their salaries by $3,471.81 annually for the 2022-2023 school year. This represents a pay increase of 5.89% for the coming school year, based on the report published by Washington Examiner on December 15, 2022.
The bonus payments and salary increases come at a time when many people are facing high inflation during the holiday season. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, annual inflation slowed to 7.1% in November, outpacing the projected 7.3%.
These financial measures are intended to provide relief and support to teachers working through the COVID-19 pandemic and will be welcomed by the eligible staff at the Fort Smith School District.