Some Grove City Area School District employees could have additional payments and benefits coming their way.

School board members on Monday night approved several measures related to bonus pay, salaries and vacation days in an effort to attract candidates to hard-to-fill positions and recognize employees for their hard work.

The 10 cafeteria staff employees are each getting a bonus payment of $500.

“They deserve this, more than deserve it,” said board member Patty Wilson.

During the Sept. 8 school board work session, Assistant Superintendent Dr. Joshua Weaver said the bonus is an incentive for everything they’ve done and will do.

The cafeteria staff still reported to work when schools were shut down during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. They prepared meals for students to pick up.

Weaver submitted an executive summary to the board that says their starting pay is $8.75 per hour. The bonus payments will be spread out over five pay periods.

The bonus payments will cost $5,000, which will be paid from the district’s American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief grant funds.

Also, maintenance staffers will be able to earn more vacation days during a shorter period of time.

Those positions are difficult to fill, and the updated structure applies to four employees, Weaver said.

“It’s just really challenging,” he said of competing with other employers who might offer a better benefits package.

Currently, those employees get two weeks of vacation after one year; three weeks after eight years; and four weeks after 10 years.

The new structure will allow two weeks of vacation after one year; three weeks after three years; and four weeks after five years. There’s an option to negotiate vacation days upon hiring – not to exceed four weeks, according to Weaver’s executive summary.

Board member J. Scott Somora voted against the vacation day update, asking if other employees might propose a similar change.

The maintenance department is not part of a collective bargaining agreement, and Weaver said he expects other groups of employees to seek updates for their paid-time-off benefits.

His summary noted that any additional costs would be related to using a substitute maintenance staff to cover the expanded vacation time.

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