Hope Public Schools

HPS Board Adopts Employee Incentive

Ken McLemore

HOPE – A $2,000 cumulative retention incentive payment for all eligible Hope Public Schools employees was adopted unanimously by the HPS Board of Education in special session Dec. 7.

HPS Superintendent Dr. Jonathan Crossley said the payment is not to be considered a bonus because it is based from a districtwide employee recruitment and retention plan that is a response to a specific need in public education in Hope and Hempstead County.

“This is not a bonus,” Dr. Crossley emphasized. “This is because we want to keep good people here.”

Crossley said the retention incentive is the first part of a multi-year development process for the HPS.

“A key element to student success is highly qualified and dedicated employees focused on educating the whole child,” the plan states. “Hope Public Schools is dedicated to recruiting the best employee.”

Crossley said a comparison of retention rates and base salaries across similar districts shows the HPS has experienced a teacher shortage but the incentive payment adopted by the board applies to all HPS employees.

“Administration recommends paying a $1,000, one-time retainment incentive, for certified and classified staff, during the month of December 2021 to all staff due to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and of virtual teaching for students who are quarantined or isolated, teaching in multiple pathways, and added preparation and stress due to the pandemic,” the plan states.

That recommendation and an additional one-time $1,000 payment for all certified and classified staff who return beginning in September, 2022, for the 2022-2023 academic year was adopted by the board.

Eligibility for the December 2021 payment is based upon full-time employment by the HPS which began prior to Oct. 1, 2021, and is contingent upon return in full-time employment in the second semester of the 2021-2022 academic year. Full-time employees who leave the HPS prior to the end of the academic year will be required to return a prorated payment of the incentive to the district.

The September, 2022, payment is for full-time employees of the district during 2021-2022 who generally sign contracts for the 2022-2023 year by June 1, 2022, and the same prorated condition applies to employees who leave prior to the completion of the 2022-2023 academic year.

Part-time employees, or employees hired less than full time after Oct. 1, 2021, will receive a prorated payment for the December, 2021, incentive and similar requirements apply to part-time employees for the September, 2022, payment.

In an email to district teachers and staff, Crossley emphasized the value of HPS faculty and staff.

“Your everyday dedication allows us all to serve our students well,” he said. “Thank you…We are stronger together, and I know we are heading in the right direction.”

The HPS currently employs some 389 full-time and part-time personnel. The one-time payments will be funded through the federal American Recovery Program which is tied specifically to the impact of COVID-19.

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