'We don't mind going to bat for you.' Johnston County school employees to receive retention bonus

Posted November 9, 2021 11:13 p.m. EST

— Thousands of employees in Johnston County Public Schools will receive part of a retention bonus starting in December.

Laura Moffett Myers spent 17 years working as a teacher for Johnston County Schools.

She said she sympathizes with educators struggling with burnout from the coronavirus pandemic.

"I really believe our public school teachers are feeling left behind," said Myers.

On Tuesday, Johnston County school board members approved retention bonuses for more than 5,000 employees in the school district.

"Our employees deserve every bit of it," said school board member Mike Wooten.

The bonus rate is based on an employee’s hire date. Employees hired before March 1, 2021 will receive a $2,500 bonus, with $1,250 paid in December and the other half paid in June

Employees hired between March 1, 2021 and May 30, 2022 will receive a $1,250 bonus with $625 paid in December and the other half paid in June.

"The reason we split it up that way is to alleviate the tax burden," said Stephen Britt, the chief financial officer for the school district.

The total cost of the bonus program comes with a nearly $13.3 million price tag, but school board members said their employees are worth the investment.

"We're trying to create a culture where we compete to keep you ... and we don't mind going to bat for you," said school board member Ronald Johnson.

"Anything we can do to encourage teachers that care, who have credentials to hang in there and stay in their profession is worth it," said Myers.

School board members also voted 4-3 to continue the mask mandate through the school district.

One member talked about hopes of lifting the mandate after students return from winter break.

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