School employees to receive extra day of pay, exit notification incentive

T-R PHOTOS BY TREVOR BABCOCK Left: Director of Human Resources Nora Ryan asks the school board to implement a $1,000 early notification incentive for school district employees intending to leave the district. Right: Superintendent Theron Schutte discusses stipend play for all school district employees as a way to recognize their work through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Stipend pay and a new incentive are on the way for employees of the Marshalltown Community School District.

The Marshalltown school board approved both a stipend to recognize employees’ extra efforts amid the COVID-19 pandemic and an early notification of leave incentive during its regular meeting on Tuesday night.

All permanent 10 and 12-month school district employees in good standing by the end of the year who were employed on or before Sept. 1 are set to receive a stipend in their paychecks before the end of December. The amount given to employees equals a day of base pay if the individual is employed at the beginning of the school or fiscal year. Those employed after the beginning of the school/fiscal year will receive a prorated stipend.

“One of the things that I really feel that we need to seriously consider, thus the proposal tonight, is recognizing all of the hard work, effort, extra time, stress and anxiety that our education professionals in all classifications have had to deal with for the past two years essentially, or at least since COVID hit,” Superintendent Theron Schutte said. “It has been a terrifically challenging time in order to figure out how to do things differently and then have those rules change periodically based on mandates and things like that, and also to do things in as safe of a way as possible for not only our students and our families, but our employees as well.”

Schutte said the total cost of the stipends is just under $200,000, and the district will also consider a similar proposal for the second half of the school year.

The stipends are paid for through remaining federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief dollars. The school district has upwards of $8 million in federal COVID-19 relief funds to spend until the summer of 2024.

Employees planning to leave the MCSD by the end of the school year now have a $1,000 incentive to notify the district of their intent to exit. Director of Human Resources Nora Ryan said the goal is to hear from employees who are planning to leave and speed up the process of seeking a replacement.

“We are in a much better place to be able to post in December and early January for positions rather than waiting until May,” Ryan said.

After reaching out to other school districts with the incentive in place, Ryan said all 11 responding districts felt that it helped them recruit higher quality candidates.

School board member Janis McGinnis agreed that the incentive makes sense, as most teachers have already been hired by March and April.

“To wait until May or June to try to hire, you’ve missed out on a large pool of applicants,” McGinnis said.

School board member Mike Miller asked if it would make more sense to give incentive money for teachers coming into the school district as opposed to those leaving.

Ryan responded that she understood Miller’s point.

“On the surface, this does make one kind of confused as to why we would technically be giving money out,” Ryan said.

She said employees would not be quitting to receive the $1,000 incentive because they would have already made the decision.

“We’re incentivizing them to tell us earlier than they would, to hopefully grab those new folks to get them to sign on earlier than March, April, May, June,” Ryan said.

She said posting for jobs months in advance puts the Marshalltown ahead of the hiring curve, even though the school district is giving away money to departing employees.

In order to qualify for the incentive, employees must be certified and have worked three full-time consecutive years within the school district. They also must complete their current contract before separation of employment. For administrators, their start date must be on or before July 1, 2019. For certified staff, their start date must be on or before Sept. 1, 2019. Employees intending to exit must submit an electronic application before 4:30 p.m. on Dec. 22.

Applications will be taken on a first come, first serve basis. The school district will reserve the right to deny applications if the amount exceeds expectations and anticipated funding needs.

“This is simply a strategy, and we’ll evaluate after it’s implemented to determine whether it’s worth implementing again or not,” Schutte said. “It is a relatively new concept, but it’s one a lot of the large districts are starting to utilize to get a competitive advantage.”


Contact Trevor Babcock

at 641-753-6611 or



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