School board approves stipend for teachers

by WHITNEY ENGLAND
Reporter | November 18, 2020 1:00 AM

The Whitefish School District plans to give all teachers in the district a lump-sum stipend in recognition of the time they’ve spent planning and adjusting operations to reopen schools during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The School Board last week approved the proposal for the stipend as presented by Superintendent Dave Means.

The one-time extra compensation of $546.80 will come out of the district’s coronavirus relief budget. In early September, the district received $831,000 in relief funding as part of money granted to schools across the state by Montana Gov. Steve Bullock.

“This is an opportunity to recognize some of the efforts that our staff is putting in this year, in order to help them during this COVID-19 (pandemic) and how we’re proceeding,” Means said.

According to the memorandum of agreement, the school district came to the agreement with the Whitefish Education Association teachers union to further accommodate COVID-19 pandemic issues related to school operations. Means said both the district and the WEA were excited to be able to offer this stipend.

The stipend represents about 20 hours of curriculum pay, Means noted.

“Some of the challenges we certainly face are just the amount of time it requires not only to develop lessons for students who are remote learning and those students who are in-person, but the time associated with operationalizing all of that and putting that all together, and setting up our classrooms, things like that,” Means said, prior to the school board’s approval.

All of the money from the $831,000 coronavirus relief fund is required to be spent on COVID-19 related necessities by Dec. 30, 2020.