Waco ISD trustees approve $10,000 retention bonuses for teachers

Custodians and cafeteria workers will receive a $1,000 incentive for hard-to-fill positions.

By Josh Wucher

During Thursday night’s school board meeting, Waco ISD trustees unanimously approved a multi-year plan to pay classroom teachers $10,000 in retention. The district will use $8.1 million from the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief grant to fund the bonuses over the next three school years.

Dr. Susan Kincannon

“Considering the shortage of certified teachers throughout the State of Texas, it’s essential that we show our appreciation and encourage our best and brightest to stay in Waco ISD,” Superintendent Dr. Susan Kincannon said. “Getting our teachers in place, providing our students with stability is really important right now and we want our students to succeed.”

The retention bonuses are structured in tiered payments depending on teacher start dates. For teachers beginning this August, a total retention bonus of $10,000 will be divided into three payouts across December 2022, December 2023 and September 2024; for new hires starting August 2022, $5,000 will be divided into two payouts across December 2023 and September 2024; and new hires starting August 2023 will receive a one-time payment of $2,500 in September 2024. 

“Our educators placed themselves on the front lines during this pandemic, and we have the funds to show that not only do we value our teachers, we want them to stay with us,” Board President Angela Tekell said. “These retention bonuses reflect the Board’s and district’s ongoing commitment to staying competitive in recruiting and retaining hardworking educators who are passionate about addressing our students’ academic and social emotional needs.”

The Board also approved an additional $500,500 in ESSER funding for retention bonuses for custodians and cafeteria workers. There will be three total payouts based on the employee’s years of service with the district: 0-4 years – $500; 5-9 years – $750; and 10+ years – $1000. The three payout dates are December of 2022 and 2023 and September of 2024. 

“We average about 12-15 custodial vacancies and 35-40 cafeteria worker vacancies at any given time during the school year,” Kincannon said. “Though these positions are hard to fill, they are incredibly rewarding jobs for people who care about our kids and want to make a difference.”

Joshua Wucher is Waco ISD’s executive director for communications.

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