At the meeting of the Jennings County School Board last Thursday, Superintendent Teresa Brown was pleased to announce that there was an opening in the budget that would allow for all JCSC employees to receive an appreciation stipend ranging from $500-$2,000. The night before it was approved, Brown read aloud the email she planned to send out to the employees.

“Good Evening, Tonight, it gives our school board and administration great pleasure to inform you that due to unexpected federal funding and a state budget that is prioritizing funding for education, we are able to offer a stipend to ALL JCSC employees. As you know, this last year has required extraordinary efforts from all staff members in every position in our district to enable our students to be served well. You have been required to perform your jobs in unprecedented ways and be innovative and persistent in finding solutions to daily challenges. It has been hard. It has been exhausting. We have definitely proved that we are stronger together and we can do hard things. In a year when more was being asked than ever before, we were unable to provide any additional compensation last fall. We lost 224 students, which impacted our funding by more than $1.5 million. We also faced an uncertain economic forecast with the pandemic forcing cutbacks and looming funding shortfalls. We were transparent with our financial challenges and our staff stood alongside us as we worked to keep our budget as tight as possible. During these discussions, our administration and board made it clear that providing additional compensation to our staff is a priority whenever we are able to do so. I am happy to report that today we are able to do so. Our board felt strongly that all staff members including substitute teachers and contract bus drivers should receive a stipend as it has taken all of us going above and beyond to provide the best possible learning environment for our students. We want all employees to know they are appreciated and valued every day. As I have stated to you previously, you are the heart and soul of Jennings County. Thank you for all you do.”

Brown also noted,”The JCSC school board and administration are grateful to our staff for the many ways they have gone above and beyond over the past year. Literally, every area of teaching, learning and operations of the district have been reimagined to meet the needs of our students and staff. Financially, we were not in a position to offer a raise last fall due to the economic uncertainties we were facing. At this time, we are able to reward our staff with an appreciation stipend as a small token of our appreciation. Next week is staff appreciation week. This year, more than ever, we want to express to our staff that we are so thankful to have each of them helping us meet the needs of our students. JCSC is a special place because our staff are special. What a great place for kids!”

This news was met by a great applause by those in attendance, as well as a unanimous vote from the seven members of the school board.