What we know about 2021 educator bonuses
On Feb. 5, Governor Spencer Cox signed into law a Public Education Base Budget that includes an unprecedented $400 million investment in new money (see more). Included in budget is a “Supplemental Educator COVID-19 Stipend” – essentially a bonus for all educators. Here’s what we currently know about the bonus (this page will be updated as additional information becomes available):
What is the status of the bonus?
- Senate Bill 1: Public Education Base Budget Amendments was signed into law by Governor Spencer Cox on February 5, 2021. The measure originally passed the Legislative Executive Appropriations Committee on December 16. It passed the Senate Jan. 27 unanimously and the House Jan. 28 on a vote of 59-14.
How much is the bonus and who gets it?
- As outlined in the bill language (beginning on line 192), the stipend is $1,500 to each “licensed school-level educator…” Specifically named in the $1,500 bonus are licensed teachers “including preschool, kindergarten, elementary, secondary, and special education teachers; support staff, including librarians, instructional leaders or specialists, counselors, and other support staff including employees like psychologists and social workers; and administrators, including principals, assistant principals, and directors.”
- The stipend is $1,000 to each “classified school-level employee.” Specifically named in the $1,000 bonus are classified employees “assigned to work in a school setting instructional paraprofessionals; library paraprofessionals; student support; and school and other support, including employees like janitors, bus drivers, and food service…”
- Excluded from the stipends are “school district employees who are assigned to work in the central administration of the school district, including superintendents, deputy and assistant superintendents, area and regional directors, curriculum specialists, and support staff…”
- The stipend will be prorated for each employee based on full-time equivalent status.
- While the Legislature and the State Board of Education will provide some direction on who qualifies as a licensed or non-licensed employee, final decisions on who gets which bonus will likely be determined by local school districts and charter schools.
How and when will the bonus be paid?
- The money will be passed to local school districts and charter schools for distribution in paychecks as early as March 2021. Please contact your school district for distribution details.
- In most instances the bonus will be included as regular pay for tax purposes, which means it is subject to state and federal taxes, but also means it counts toward URS retirement benefits for those enrolled.
Will Salt Lake City School District teachers receive the bonus?
- The Salt Lake Education Association reached a compromise that allows for teachers to receive the bonus depending on vaccination schedules and timing for schools opening to in-person learning.
- The UEA and the Salt Lake Education Association expressed strong opposition to language in the bill that says to qualify for the bonus, an educator must be “employed by an LEA (school district) that provides a broad-based in-person learning option for all students in kindergarten through grade 12 by February 8, 2021.”
- This language primarily targets Salt Lake City School District since it was the only school district without a “broad-based in-person learning option.”