Teachers in Georgia will get an additional $125 in federal COVID-19 relief funds, months after receiving a comparable stipend.
On Friday, Republican candidate for reelection Brian Kemp made the announcement at Ola High School in Henry County, in front of teachers who were preparing for the start of the new school year the following week. When his daughter began teaching first grade in Oconee County last year, he was able to see firsthand how much money teachers may spend on supplies, instructional aids, and decorations for their classrooms. He said he learned this lesson the hard way.
State education officials have said that the new bonus would cover those who offer instructional assistance on a daily basis such as counselors, librarians, school nurses, and speech language pathologists. In January, only teachers and paraprofessional teacher aids were eligible to receive the $125 supplemental payment.
The funding originates from the government COVID-19 help that Kemp is able to distribute to the respective educational institutions. In all, Georgia received $173 million in financing for public schools, of which $79 million was designated for emergency relief to be provided to private schools. This amount has already been disbursed.
Katie Byrd, a spokesman for Governor Kemp, said that the state of Georgia still has $59.7 million remaining in the account for nonpublic schools despite the fact that the money must be used in accordance with federal regulations. She said that authorities from the federal education department are giving Kemp the authority to decide how the money should be spent on public schools. The first expenditure that has been revealed from those money is the grants for school supplies.
Stacey Abrams, who is running for governor as a Democrat, and others have voiced repeated complaints that Brian Kemp is receiving credit for giving out federal COVID-19 aid, despite the fact that he and other Republicans opposed part of the expenditure. During his remarks on Thursday, Kemp again brought up the $2,500-a-year boost for teachers that he successfully negotiated. Abrams has suggested an increase in teacher compensation that would total $1.65 billion over the course of five years. If passed, this plan would raise the minimum beginning wage for all teachers to $50,000 and bring the average teacher income up to $75,000, up from $60,553 in the most recent school year.