AUSTIN, Texas - Austin ISD will propose a retention incentive Thursday that could lead to bonuses for all staff who make under $150,000 annually.
According to AISD Superintendent Dr. Stefanie Elizalde, the bonuses are to thank employees for their hard work during such unprecedented times.
"Whether you're a teacher, a principal, a custodian, a bus driver, support staff, central office, or any number of roles that make our district great, it is because of you," said Dr. Elizalde.
On Monday, Dr. Elizalde released a video message announcing that she would be recommending the adoption of a resolution authorizing a one-time retention incentive benefit for AISD employees. "This benefit will be $1,000 to all full-time staff who earn less than $150,000 annually, and $500 to all part-time staff," she said.
However, some teachers set to receive this bonus if passed are not completely sold. "I have so many questions. We don't understand what it means because saying I would like for you to get this benefit or this bonus, it doesn't mean a whole lot considering what's happened this whole year," said teacher Bianca San Miguel.
Dr. Elizalde says this one-time retention incentive is meant to be a reward to teachers, custodians, principals, bus drivers, and other AISD employees for their work during unprecedented times. "While we can never truly reward you adequately for all of your contributions, we did want to provide you with at least some monetary award in recognition of your tremendous efforts," she said.
San Miguel says she’s not sure if it’ll actually pass on Thursday but is hopeful. "It's just there's so many things that they proposed that sounded like great ideas, and then it just doesn't come to fruition," she said.
Some teachers don’t think a one-time payment is enough.
"I'll take the $1,000, but, I think it barely puts a dent in what all the teachers have gone through in the last year. It's completely different teaching during a pandemic and stress levels have been high for almost a year, It's been like starting a whole new school year every couple months as things have been changing," said one AISD teacher who wanted to remain anonymous.
Dr. Elizalde will present the proposal to the board Thursday, but it will be up to the board on whether or not it goes through. If it passes, the one-time retention incentive benefit will be distributed in March.