DeKalb schools to pay $41.5 million to retain staff

The DeKalb School Board voted Monday to give county staff three separate bonuses. (Martha Dalton/WABE)

The DeKalb County School District will spend tens of millions of dollars to try and retain employees. The school board approved a plan Monday to give workers three separate bonuses.

In February, part-time employees will get a one-time salary bump of $250. Full-time employees hired after Oct. 1 will get $500. Those hired before Oct. 1 will get $1,000.

Employees who miss no more than two days of work this semester will receive another $500 to be paid in May.

“If we can have teachers come to work and have them miss two days or less then we would have less need to pay out for subs,” said Human Resources Administrator Tekshia Ward Smith, who presented the plan to the board.

Teachers who renew their contracts and return for the 2023-24 school year will receive a $2,000 retention bonus. So will returning bus drivers and other full-time employees. New math, science, special education teachers and teachers who transfer to a high-needs school will receive $4,000.

Board members clapped for the proposal during a work session Monday.  

“I think it’s one of the most radical approaches to being able to show employees that they matter and that they’re valued,” said District 7 rep Joyce Morley.

The board estimates the incentives will cost $41.5 million.

Meanwhile, DeKalb pays teachers less than surrounding districts like Gwinnett, Fulton and Atlanta Public Schools.