Oldham Co., JCPS consider KDE’s vaccine incentives for teachers

Published: Oct. 11, 2021 at 5:17 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - In an effort to control the COVID-19 virus in Kentucky classrooms, the Kentucky Department of Education offered to reimburse school districts that pay educators $100 for being fully vaccinated by Dec. 1.

Some WAVE Country school districts are considering adopting the measure.

KDE plans to use $8.8 million from the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund, or ESSER, which are dollars from the federal government.

The stipend would apply to both full and part-time staff who have been fully vaccinated or plan to become fully vaccinated by Dec. 1. Districts would pay employees after they become fully vaccinated; then KDE would reimburse them.

Eileen Baker is a paraeducator at Northern Kentucky Regional School Programs. She’s not sure if her district will adopt the measure yet, but she said she’d put the money to good use.

“I think it would be a great benefit because I know most teachers and paraeducators, a lot of times, they buy things for the classrooms and snacks for the kids out of their own pockets, so that would help us out a little bit,” Baker said.

Districts are strongly encouraged to match the stipend, but it’s not required to participate.

The Jefferson County Board of Education approved the vaccine stipends during its last meeting, which included a plan to match the $100 bonus using federal ESSER funds.

JCPS educators would receive $200 for being fully vaccinated by Dec. 1.

“We will continue to push to make sure that all of our staff are vaccinated,” JCPS superintendent Dr. Marty Pollio said during a recent board meeting.

Oldham County Schools will discuss the measure during its Oct. 11 board meeting. So far, there are no plans to match the $100 bonus.

The goal is to encourage more educators to get vaccinated and to reward educators, like Baker, who have already gotten the shots.

Baker told WAVE 3 News she isn’t positive $100 will be enough to sway people to get vaccinated, but for her, the vaccine in itself is worth it.

“Some people, it probably wouldn’t move them to get the shot, because some people are so set in their ways and have their views and opinions about the shot, but I’m glad I got it,” Baker said.

Participating school districts must pay qualifying employees by Jan. 22 of next year. There is enough money for KDE to reimburse districts for around 88,000 local school staff stipends.

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