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story.lead_photo.caption FILE PHOTO The Fayetteville Public Schools McClinton Administration Building.

FAYETTEVILLE -- The School Board unanimously approved $915,000 in bonuses Wednesday for teachers and staff members.

The board voted 7-0 to approve the bonuses at a special meeting.

John L Colbert, superintendent, said the bonuses are to recognize staff members for their service during the covid-19 pandemic. The bonuses will be applied to the Dec. 14 paycheck for qualified staff members, he said.

Full-time teachers and administrators will receive a $750 one-time bonus. Part-time staff members will receive a prorated bonus.

Classified staff members will receive a 25-cent bonus for each contracted hour they have worked for the school year, according to the documents.

Megan Hurley, board vice president, asked if staff members who have taken a leave of absence during the pandemic would qualify for a bonus.

"They have to be active currently with the district in order to get the bonus," Colbert said.

Funding for the bonuses is coming from unused district operational money, said Glenda Sullins, district finance and business services director.

"We built the budget thinking we'd be back to normal next semester, but that looks like it's not going to happen," Sullins said.

Sullins said the district was able to reallocate money from expenditures that won't be feasible this year.

The money will have to be returned to the operational budget next school year to meet those same projected needs, she said.

"This isn't a windfall of money that was found," said Tim Hudson, board secretary, adding the bonuses are in part achievable because of careful management of the district's budget.

The Bentonville School Board likewise approved staff bonuses at a Nov. 23 special meeting. Those bonuses include a one-time payment to employees of 1.2% of their contract amount, with a cap of $1,000. The bonuses will be paid Dec. 17.

The average bonus will be about $670 and will cost the district $1.6 million, according to administrators.

The Rogers School Board approved a bonus Nov. 17 of $500 for teachers and other certified staff members and a payment equal to about 1% of salary, up to $500, for all classified staff members.

The one-time payment will be distributed this month and will cost the district about $1.1 million, according to administrators.

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