Belle Fourche School Board approves critical worker stipend

BELLE FOURCHE –– Employees of the Belle Fourche School District will soon receive a one-time critical worker stipend of $350 aimed to help show appreciation for the extra time and efforts put in over the school year due to COVID-19.

“The reason we are offering the critical worker stipend is that we recognize that all of our employees in the Belle Fourche School District are critical employees,” Elementary Principal Julie Hatling told the Pioneer. “And that each and every one of us have had to work above and beyond what would have been their typical duties. And those things now that they’re doing over and above their typical duties are in an effort to mitigate the continued impact of COVID-19.”

The school board officially approved the stipend during its Nov. 8 meeting.

The board approved the stipend, offering the bonus to all permanent employees employed with the district as of Dec. 9. The stipend is to be paid on Dec. 15 to all active employees.

Federal assistance funds awarded to the district from the American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ARP ESSER III) program will be used for eligible stipends.

“We just really felt that this critical worker stipend would be a reward for our staff and the extraordinary service that they’ve provided throughout this pandemic,” Hatling said. “And a way to recognize their extra duties. And we know that they’ll continue to have extra duties (expected of them) so we just felt that this would be a nice way to show our appreciation, as well as to reward all permanent employees.”

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