Shawnee Mission School District offering $600 retention payments to staff

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SHAWNEE, Kan. — The Shawnee Mission School District is giving staff members a reason to come back to work. District leaders say they are giving a $600 retention payment to 3,400 employees who worked during the pandemic.

Math high school teacher Jill Johnson is one of the recipients. She said she is grateful for the initiative.

“Getting that retention payment, it just so wonderful,” she said.

Johnson said the previous year has been hard on staff members, including teachers, who have pivoted from teaching in-person to virtual classes during the pandemic.

“It’s feels like, they noticed that we put in a lot of effort,” Johnson said.

David Smith said it’s a way to say “thank you” to staff.

There are just so many people who work day in and day out, a lot of them without recognition,” Smith said. It’s just a way to say to everybody we are one family, you all matter.

Smith said most of the payment will be taken from federal funds. The rest from the schools monies originally intended for HVAC systems. The cash needed for the program will total to just about $2.3 million.

But even before the money is disbursed, the initiative, is working. Johnson said the district appreciates its staff members and that’s why she’s not going anywhere. 

“I am here for the long haul, “ Johnson said. “I started my career in Shawnee Mission and I plan to retire here as well.”

The money for the program will be disbursed to qualified recipients in September. 

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