PUEBLO — Some teachers in Pueblo's School District 60 are seeing an extra $1,000.00 in their accounts just weeks before winter break.
In an email sent to D60 staff around 11:00 am on Monday, the district announced it will be giving those who were fully vaccinated by November 10 a $1,000.00 incentive stipend.
"We feel it's important to recognize our teachers who have done everything they can to make sure we can continue to provide in-person instruction, and so one of the ways we wanted to show that is by offering an incentive," said Dalton Sprouse, the Public Information Officer for D60.
D60 does not have a vaccine mandate in place, but says the "vast majority" of employees are eligible for the stipend. They cannot provide exactly how many employees are fully vaccinated.
"A big piece of continuing in-person instruction is having our staff fully vaccinated, and many of them are. I would say the vast majority of them are. So this is just one way that we can tell them thank you and extend our appreciation," said Sprouse.
One unvaccinated teacher who requested to stay anonymous for fear of losing her job, says the incentive is "a slap in the face".
A portion of the district's email read:
We will be providing a $1,000 incentive stipend for staff
who are fully vaccinated as a thank you for taking the necessary measures to keep our schools open for in person learning, and keeping our staff and students safe. This
stipend will be deposited as a separate payment at the same time as the November payroll.
"I helped keep the doors open and I'm not being recognized for that. I love the kids, I love the ones I'm helping, I really care for them, so it's hard to say I just want to go, but I just want to go. I mean, what do you do? They have chose who they appreciate and I wasn't one of them," said the teacher.
D60 used the state's vaccine database to find staff members who were fully vaccinated.
If a staff member is fully vaccinated and does not receive a separate payment, the district says it will work with the to verify vaccination status.
Hourly and temporary employees are not eligible at this time, but D60 says they are working to provide incentives for those employees as well.
D60 says funds for the stipend came from federal COVID-19 relief funds, or Elementary and Secondary Education Relief (ESSER) funds.
The district says there will be another opportunity for staff members to get money again later on in the school year, if they choose to get vaccinated after the first stipend has been given out.