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Cumberland County teachers, staff members to receive retention bonuses

Assistant Principal of Year Williams recommended as Douglas Byrd High principal


There’s good news for eligible teachers and other employees of the Cumberland County Schools system.

The personnel committee of the Cumberland County Board of Education has recommended that the school district offer retention bonuses of $1,000 to any staff member who completed their employment contract for the 2021-22 school year.

“Custodians all the way up to teachers,” said Greg West, chairman of the school board. “That’s going to be good news.”

Certified and classified staff members also must remain on the job on Dec. 1, the committee decided at a meeting Thursday.

Certified and classified new staff members employed as of Oct. 1 and remaining with the district on Dec. 1 will receive a sign-on bonus of $500.

The bonuses are expected to be paid on Dec. 16.

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Cumberland County Schools has about 6,500 employees, including about 3,500 classroom teachers.

The money will come from an allocation of $9 million from the federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) fund. Overall, the school system received $150 million from ESSER. The funding also has been used for roof repairs, vehicles and the replacement of aging air conditioning systems.

“All this money is from the pandemic, and we’re paying employees,” West said.

Also, bonuses of $1,500 — also culled from ESSER funds — are available for kindergarten through fifth-grade teachers who complete a course of literacy training by June 30 with a score of 80% or above in online coursework.

According to online sources, the Language Essentials of Reading and Spelling (LETRS) training is a professional learning program rooted in the science of reading that trains teachers in skills to master the fundamentals of literacy instruction for young learners.

School system officials say the bonuses are intended to address county staffing shortages.

“Cumberland County Schools continues to experience staffing difficulties associated with our recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and the national labor shortage,” according to a school district statement. “While the competition for the best and brightest can often hinge on important factors such as workplace satisfaction, a sense of appreciation, and inclusion in the decision-making process, compensation is a critical factor in the recruitment/retention process.”

The school system has until 2024 to spend its ESSER funds, West said.

In other news, the school system’s Assistant Principal of the Year, Kenneth Williams, was recommended as the new principal of Douglas Byrd High School.

Williams, 46, has been assistant principal at E.E. Smith High School for four years.

Williams would replace Zoletta Taylor, who was among nine principals nominated for Principal of the Year honors. Taylor was promoted to a job in the district's central office, West said.

The full board must approve Williams' appointment on Tuesday during its monthly meeting.

Michael Futch covers Fayetteville and education for CityView. He can be reached at mfutch@cityviewnc.com.

Cumberland County, Fayetteville, schools, education