Higher Retention Bonuses for all CMS Employees

CMS Leadership

The safety, health, and learning outcomes of our children should be the main focus of our district's use of ESSER funds. Retaining staff through higher bonuses is key to maintaining fully operational schools.

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Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools has lost nearly 10% of its teachers, and countless more support staff, since the beginning of this school year to resignation or retirement. These critical staff shortages are exponentially raising the workload on those who remain, and student learning experiences in our schools are suffering.

If we do not take significant action to stem the exodus, who will be left to serve our children next year? Staff are exhausted to the breaking point from carrying multiple loads. We are already un-licensing our ASEP programs because we can't fill those positions. What programs, classrooms, or buildings will be next?

CMS’s recent decision to use a portion of its $317.5 million ESSER III funds to offer $2500/full time and $1250/part time retention bonuses is a step in the right direction. However, bonuses are heavily taxed, and with just half of the bonus paying out this school year, CMS staff will only see roughly $800 for this entire school year. Wake County, by contrast, is offering $5000 bonuses, with three quarters of that amount going to employees before the end of the 2021-22 school year. Wake, and several other local counties, showed they value their employees by using close to half of their ESSER III monies for retention bonuses, compared to CMS offering close to 15% of their ESSER III monies for retention bonuses.

All ESSER funding should be centered around what most directly serves the children in our community, and there is no more important factor to student success than stable school staff. Bonuses aren't a permanent solution in the way that salary increases would be. HOWEVER, they can be an effective stop gap, until we can get our county and state partners on the right side of history.

As we focus on student outcomes and our student learning experiences, Ink 4 Ed Equity and our allies call on CMS leadership to increase retention bonuses to $5000 for all full-time and $2500 for part-time staff to sustain our current workforce