Greenfield-Central staffers to receive $1,000 COVID stipends

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GREENFIELD — All full-time staffers at Greenfield-Central schools will be starting summer with an extra $1,000 in their pockets, a sign of appreciation for showing up to work throughout the pandemic this past school year.

In a special session Tuesday morning, the school board voted unanimously to pass two resolutions granting a $1,000 stipend to all staff members who worked at least 120 days in the 2020-21 school year.

“At last count there were 605 employees who will qualify for this stipend,” Superintendent Harold Olin said.

That includes teachers, counselors, social workers and a few other itinerant service personnel, as well as bus drivers, cafeteria workers, custodians, maintenance personnel, instructional assistants and administrators.

The school board approved taking up to $750,000 from the corporation’s Rainy Day Fund to cover the payout. The fund has a balance of about $5 million.

In addition to the 120-day threshold, staffers must be employed on May 27, 2021, or be retiring from the school corporation at the end of this school year.

The school board issued a memorandum of understanding between the board and the Greenfield-Central Classroom Teachers Association outlining the proposed payout to teachers.

The memo states the $1,000 stipends will be payable on June 18, “in recognition of the increase in teacher work time and effort necessitated by multiple extra duties prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The resolution laid out the reasoning behind the stipends: “Employees have been working diligently to provide quality in-person and remote instruction and a safe learning environment for students, including needed remediation to students as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Olin echoed those sentiments, saying the stipends were well-deserved.

“When we think of what the staff has done over the past year, of having the courage to show up and teach when the rest of the world was being put on pause, we knew we had to show our appreciation,” he said after Tuesday’s board meeting.

“While we can never fully convey our thanks, we hope this stipend will give them the pat on the back they so richly deserve.”

Russell Wiley, president of the Greenfield-Central Teachers Association, said the stipends are much appreciated by teachers like himself.

“We’re all very excited and appreciative of this gift,” said Wiley, who teaches social studies and European history at Greenfield-Central High School.

“It was certainly a year of heightened responsibility, and we’re glad that it is being recognized by many around the state,” he said. “I am especially happy that our classified staff will receive this as well, as they have also gone above and beyond this year in many ways to help serve the students of our corporation.”