Big bonuses in Butler County

Posted by: Mark Bullock - bio | email

GREENVILLE, AL (WSFA) - Even in the midst of a recession, employees in one local school system are getting big bonus checks. The money is considered a reward for a job well done.

The Pay Plus initiative is a pilot program exploring the benefits of incentive pay. This week, some employees of the Butler County school system got checks for up to $2500 over and above their regular salaries.

The exact amount depended on various criteria. Perfect attendance, for example, meant employees got one amount. If they sponsored an extra-curricular activity, they got a little more. And achieving AYP status raised the amount even more.

The money didn't go to just teachers. Organizers say research shows the more motivated all school employees are, the more their students thrive.

"We wanted to make sure this program affected everyone in the school system," explained Assistant Principal Litta Norris, who also directs the Pay Plus initiative.

"We wanted to promote a sense of family, that everyone is important, everyone has an impact on these students. So we involved bus drivers, principals, administrators, teachers, janitors, everybody."

As you can imagine, the program is very popular. 95% of the system's employees got some kind of bonus.

And it's apparently paying off for students as well. There are now new extracurricular programs and clubs in the schools as a result of the program. Teachers are also staying later to offer extra help and even disclipinary problems have been reduced.

The money for thee bonuses came from the state, but because of budget cuts, state funding won't be available next year. Organizers are hoping to find grants to keep the initiative going.

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