Fulton teachers, staff who weathered snowstorm will receive bonuses

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ATLANTA – The Fulton County School System will dole out nearly a quarter of a million dollars to reward employees who kept watch over the thousands of students who were stranded for hours at their schools during the Jan. 28-29 snowstorm.

Fulton Superintendent Robert Avossa said each of the 988 employees who worked overtime overseeing students will receive a $250 bonus in their March 14 paycheck. The additional pay applies to teachers, school-based administrators, bus drivers and others who stayed after hours until all students were safely home.

“If there was a silver lining [during the weather event], it’s that our staff came together and did an amazing job taking care of our kids, making sure they got home safely. And if they were stuck at school, [students] knew they had a warm place to stay and they were being taken care of,” said Avossa during a video message to staff.

Only personnel who supervised students directly will be receiving bonuses. Administrators, including Avossa and key members of his staff who worked at the central administration headquarters during the snowstorm, will not receive additional pay.

While weather conditions played a key role in the emergency on Jan. 28, the problem with getting kids home centered squarely on traffic conditions that paralyzed the metro area for more than 24 hours.

The majority of the system’s 93,000 students got home safely by midnight on Jan. 28, either by bus or by parent pickup. However, about 2,000 were stranded in dozens of schools overnight. The final students were transported home by 5 p.m. on Jan. 29.

So far this semester, teachers and students have had seven days off as a result of weather conditions. Three of those days were waived from makeup, one day will be made up March 14 and the decision on how to make up the final three days will be left to each school based on its needs.

While teachers will get paid for the three days lost in January, there is no discretion on making up three snow days taken Feb. 11-13. A memo to teachers on Feb. 27 laid out the plans for making up those days, noting the time must be made up to satisfy the terms of their contracts.

Options were provided to make up days during Spring Break, after school ends in May and even up until June 30 if needed. Teachers can also fulfill their contracts by taking the days as personal days or vacation.

JC 03-13-14