West Point Middle School teacher Amanda Guthrie

West Point Middle School teacher Amanda Guthrie teaches virtually.

In recognition of the extra duties they have had to perform during this school year, full-time employees of the Cullman County School System will be receiving a one-time stipend of $500.

All of the system's full-time employees as of March 11 who have performed additional duties beyond their normal job requirements will be receiving the stipend with the exception of Superintendent Shane Barnette, who said he decided to exempt himself from consideration.

Barnette said the system has been working to save money over the past years to handle any uncertainties that may have arisen, and many of the projects that the system was planning are now able to be funded using money from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, the timing is right to award the stipend to its employees.

Speaking to the members of the board about the stipend, Barnette said employees in other fields who have work outside their normal duties in hours may be getting overtime pay for that, but all of the teachers and staff members have not received any extra pay this year.

"Our certified employees have not been able to do that, and with us coming back to school and us being financially sound at this point, I think you all would agree that it's time that we pay that for them," he said.

The board also approved the use of CARES Act funding to pay for a contract with American Behavioral to provide an employee assistance program to all full-time employees.

Many of the employees in the system may have lost a loved one in the pandemic or are going through a hard time, so it is important to be able to provide the service to them, Barnette said.

"I think it's something that's well needed and can really benefit our employees," he said.

Tyler Hanes can be reached at 256-734-2131 ext. 238.

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