Staff shortages have been a huge theme in 2021. To combat this early in the year, companies and businesses began offering incentives and sign-on bonuses to lure new workers. It soon became clear that another approach was just as important, if not more, as already stretched-thin loyal staff wondered where their well-earned extra piece of the pie was. One Cedar Rapids organization seems to have figured this out.

The Cedar Rapids Community School District has approved a big bonus

KCRG says the Cedar Rapids Community School District (CRCSD) will give bonuses to its staff on their upcoming paychecks, just in time for the holidays. All full-time staff and anyone with a position of more than half-time (.51 Full-Time Equivalent) will get a $750 bonus while everyone else will get a $500 bonus.

It is a deserved reward for many reasons

These staffs have stayed loyal and worked their tails off in the wake of a complicated pandemic and when CRCSD was among many who were short-staffed, in particular in the substitute teaching pool. Superintendent Noreen Bush officially calls the bonuses "compensation for extra work during a systemic workforce shortage". In Bush's words:

The substitute shortages and workforce concerns are systemic--they stretch beyond our school district--and are a direct result of the pandemic. Therefore, the workload placed upon our employees is a result of that. We are compensating our employees for this workload; we will use our ESSER allocation for this purpose.”

The bonuses come from federal funding

Bonuses come from money given to CRCSD from the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief  (ESSER) Act. So far, CRCSD has used about $35.8 million of the $50 million in funding it received from that relief fund.

The Cedar Rapids Community School District is taking a needed step toward rewarding those who already work for them, but will other employers follow suit?

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