Williamson County offers new bonus pay for teacher attendance
Reported By Chris Bundgaard, Reporter - bio | email
Williamson County Director of Schools Dr. Mike Looney
WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Tenn. -
In an attempt to encourage Williamson County teachers not to miss work, the school district is offering full time educators up to $500 for not using sick days.
Officials told Nashville's News 2, out of more than 2,400 teachers, 70 of them did not use a sick day last year.
The bonus money has been offered for the past three years, but how teachers qualify for it has changed a bit.
This year, Williamson County teachers will get $100 for each perfect quarter of attendance and a $100 bonus if they don't use any sick days for all four quarters of the year.
"I want to give them everything I can, all the tools and resources, and incentives to be in the classrooms where they are needed," Williamson County Schools Director Dr. Mike Looney said.
Even with the bonus money at stake, Dr. Looney said he encourages teachers to miss if they are sick.
"Entice teachers not to take those mental health days, obviously they need to take the days when they are truly sick or their children sick," he said.
Dr. Looney said there really wasn't a problem with absenteeism in the district before implementing the bonus, but acknowledged that on Mondays and Fridays sick days spike for teachers just like they do in many professions.
"We have already seen an increase in teacher attendance for the year," he said, adding, "The boys and girls in the classroom benefit greatly from that, rather than having a substitute. Every day that a teacher is out is a day that I am trying to make up ground instructionally."
The schools director is quick to point out his idea is not costing taxpayers.
The bonus money comes out of what the district would pay substitutes when teachers are sick.
"The money is either going to be used to incentivize teachers or pay substitutes in their absence," Dr. Looney said.