The Missouri K-12 Education Department has been reviewing whether federal coronavirus aid can be used to give teachers a bonus next school year if they stick around. The state already has a persistent teacher shortage and COVID-19 has made the problem even worse. During a Missouri Board of Education meeting, Deputy Finance Commissioner Kari Monsees says there’s good news and bad news on the bonus front.
Board member Peter Herschend, of southwest Missouri’s Branson, suggests checking to see if the governor could issue an emergency change in statute about teacher pay. Monsees says the department is also discussing whether to use some of the federal relief to build a grant program for long-term teacher recruitment and retention efforts. Commissioner Margie Vandeven says the department continues to review its options.
Board President Charlie Shields, of northwest Missouri’s St. Joseph, says a bill moving along in the Legislature could be updated to include a teacher bonus.