School employees may get $2,000 stipends

Proposal will go to school board this month; amount totals $725,000

Superintendent+Bob+Maxwell+notified+employees+about+the+stipends+in+a+meeting+Feb.+3.

ANISSA CHAK

Superintendent Bob Maxwell notified employees about the stipends in a meeting Feb. 3.

ABBY DAVIS, Evergreen deputy news editor

Pullman Public Schools employees may receive a stipend up to $2,000 for any additional COVID-19-related duties to help with the district’s reopening plan.

The stipend is for work done outside of one’s normal job criteria. The approximate amount for the stipends is $725,000, said Diane Hodge, finance director for Pullman Public Schools. 

The proposal will go to the Pullman Public Schools board for approval later this month, she said.

“We wanted to just give the [employees] what they deserve,” Hodge said. “They’re doing the work. They’re doing additional responsibilities and duties.”

Extra work employees are completing for the reopening plan include supervision, sanitization, safety and security measures to maintain COVID-19 protocols, like social distancing, she said.

Because of the pandemic, library books and any school supplies students use are quarantined. Heather Strader, second-grade teacher at Franklin Elementary School, said she separates supplies for whatever students will use that week. The supplies are quarantined and sanitized after the week is up. 

Strader said she spends a lot of time outside work hours planning lessons for asynchronous and synchronous learning. This includes developing, recording and uploading asynchronous lessons to online platforms, as well as constructing take-home learning kits. 

“All I know is that I can never get it done in a day, so [the stipend] was super appreciated,” she said.

The school district is fiscally responsible, Hodge said. Money for the stipends comes from undesignated funds, including personal service contracts the district did not have to pay because of the pandemic. 

Personal service contracts are contracts the district has with individuals and other entities that provide services for the district, like the City of Pullman and WSU, she said.  

Hodge said she thinks those stipends will be a morale booster for employees. The specific amount of money given to employees will vary. The money received will be proportionate to the actual number of hours worked.

“Every employee is doing jobs outside of their normal job criteria right now to make this plan work above and beyond what they’re expected to do so,” Hodge said. “That’s why [a stipend] is going to everyone.”  

Superintendent Bob Maxwell notified employees about the stipends in a meeting Feb. 3, Strader said.   

“I was actually pretty surprised and excited, so that was a nice thing that I didn’t know was coming,” she said. “I definitely think it was a good boost for morale and made me feel appreciated.”

The district’s intent is to give employees their stipends in March, Hodge said.  

“People don’t understand the stress that’s going on behind the scenes of this reopening plan,” she said. “A lot of people are really going above and beyond the call of duty to make this work and make it successful for the kids so we can get them back in school.”