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Each Wayne Townships Schools employee to get $1,500 pandemic bonuses

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Every single teacher and staff member of Wayne Township Schools will get a pandemic bonus check.

Theresa Rhinehart teaches third-graders at Robey Elementary School. She has taught at the school for about seven years.

“It was surprising, but it really was thoughtful and it really touched my heart to know how blessed I am to be a part of MSD (Metropolitan School District) Wayne Township.” Rhinehart on Tuesday told to News 8.

She enjoys working with students. “I like to see the growth. I like to see their potential. I like to see the sparkle in their eyes, the excitement of learning and new things.”

During this pandemic, teaching, especially e-learning, hasn’t been easy.

“That was very hard for me, because I couldn’t touch. I couldn’t feel. I couldn’t reach out. I had to go through a screen. Then, some students just were not as active or participating, and I totally understand they felt the effect too, but for me as a teacher, I really felt disconnected from my students during that time,” Rhinehart said.

The tough times are now being rewarded. On Monday night, the Wayne Township School Board approved a $1,500 pandemic bonus check for every teacher and staff member in the district.

Amy Bopp, an assistant cafeteria manager at Robey Elementary, found out Tuesday morning. The pandemic has been difficult for her, too.

“I think it’s awesome!” Bopp said, “I think we are very fortunate to work for Wayne Township, that they are taking care of us because they realize the teachers have had a hard time, we’ve had a hard time, the kids have all had a hard time. It’s been a hard school year.”

Superintendent Jeff Butts told News 8 that the bonus checks will come from roughly $4 million in federal and state money. “With all of the things that our staff do in a normal year, seeing everything that our staff has done additional above and beyond during the pandemic, the board knew that our staff had earned not only the $1,500 pandemic bonus, but so much more. This was a way that we can recognize all employees and all that they’ve done to serve our students.”

The superintendent said the bonuses are separate and apart from teacher pay. Butts explained the district is working through negotiations to use money that was just provided in the state budget to work toward giving raises to teachers.

A district spokesperson told News 8 the bonus payments will arrive in bank accounts on June 18.

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