Dekalb County schools board announced $41 million worth of bonuses for staff

The Dekalb County Board of Education approved a program to increase employee salaries at their most recent board meeting on January 9th. Human Resources Administrator Tekshia Ward-Smith proposed the “recruiting and retention incentive program,” a plan to reduce the number of resignations and attract new employees.

“This is our attempt to not only show our employees how much we love them; we ask them to choose Dekalb,” Ward-Smith said.

Interim Superintendent Dr. Vasanne Tinsley said she wants employees to know they are valued and hopes they will continue working for Dekalb. According to Tinsley, the county is in a “competitive frenzy.”

“We want to make sure that the employees that we have stay with us,” she said. “Unfortunately, we have employees that will leave us to go to a neighboring district.”

Neighboring districts like Atlanta Public Schools (APS) and Gwinnett County Public Schools (GCPS) have historically offered higher salaries to their staff when compared to Dekalb. On average, educators working for Dekalb make about $3,000 less than those who work at APS and GCPS. Dekalb pays its bus drivers roughly $5,000 less than both neighboring counties.

Per the incentive program, teachers will receive a pay raise ranging from $2,000 to $4,000 based on a couple of factors, including their work zone and the subject they teach. Teachers willing to transfer to higher vacancy regions will receive a more significant bonus, along with those who teach math or science. New bus drivers and SROs will receive a $2,500 salary increase, and all other employees a $2,000 raise. 

Ward-Smith said all Dekalb county employees would receive a salary raise as long as they worked full-time.

“We will leave no stone unturned to show our employees how much we appreciate them,” Ward-Smith said.

About Writer

Vanessa Castro

Vanessa Castro is a multimedia journalist, reporter, and videographer. A passionate storyteller, she strives to give a voice to the voiceless through written and broadcast media. Vanessa graduated from Berkmar High School's Media, Arts, & Communications Academy in 2017. She currently attends Georgia State University as a journalism major and speech communications minor. She hopes to inspire positive change through journalism.

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