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Holladay Journal

Granite rewards ‘tremendous efforts’ by staff with a bonus on top of pay raise

Nov 17, 2020 12:10PM ● By Heather Lawrence

By Heather Lawrence | [email protected]

Granite School Board sent out a message Oct. 6 that they had approved a bonus for all employees, which would arrive in their Oct. 30 paycheck. 

“As a board, we understand that you are working so hard under difficult circumstances. You are doing a tremendous job navigating through the restrictions and extra requirements that come with COVID, as well as learning new things along the way. We know and understand that this is not easy,” said Karyn Winder in a video sent out to educators. Winder is board president of the Granite School District. 

Hourly employees received a one-time $100 bonus in their Oct. 30 paycheck. Contract employees received a 1% bonus. In addition, contract employees will receive a 3% bonus in their November paychecks. This was negotiated in the spring as part of their benefits package. 

Contract employees’ salaries had been adjusted for a 5% cost of living raise in the annual 2020-2021 contract negotiations, which brought an incoming teacher’s salary to over $50,000.  

“We wanted to back up our words with action. We have relatively low COVID numbers, and are proud to be one of the most transparent districts in the state. We spent nearly $4 million on equipment and building upgrades this year to keep schools safer. A surplus from the spring will help us make sure there are no teacher layoffs this year,” Winder said.  

Many principals report that their teachers are working harder than ever this year, coming in earlier and leaving later. They’re trying to balance several learning modalities and develop online resources for kids who are distance learning. Custodial staff is cleaning much more often, and all school employees are getting creative about limiting interaction among students. 

“The bonus was a nice and unexpected token of appreciation. It’s a nice compliment for everyone and how hard they’re working right now. Teachers are overwhelmed. They’re tired. Things are difficult and frustrating, but they care about these kids,” said Benjamin Peters, principal at Howard R. Driggs Elementary. 

Principal Afton Lambson at Spring Lane Elementary thought the bonuses were good not just for bank accounts, but for morale. “We’re incredibly grateful that the board is recognizing that this unique circumstance is more than the teachers and staff planned on. It’s a small gesture of appreciation that’s noticed by our staff. They’re all being asked to do things differently. 

“One of our hourly employees said they were so happy to see that increase in their paycheck because they’ve never gotten anything like that before. I hope people understand that budgets are thin—we’ve added PPE and had to be creative in our staffing this year. So, it makes a big difference to know that they care and we’re appreciated,” Lambson said.