SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – Salt Lake City educators are responding to the news that they may not be eligible for $1,500 bonus checks announced by the Utah legislature Wednesday, calling the move “disrespectful” and “unfair”.
Seventh-grade math teacher Diane Crim has been teaching for more than 30 years; “It feels like I’ve had the opportunity to go back and be a first-year teacher all over again.”
Crim was devastated to lean she and her colleagues may not be eligible for the bonus checks.
“In my mind, everybody understood how hard everyone is working and how innovative we’ve had to be…and then to find out, for what reason I don’t understand, that my work is not valued, ” Crim said.
The rules surrounding those checks require some in-person learning and the Salt Lake City School District has been technically online since March. But Crim sees students in-person multiple times a week, not to mention all of the supplies she gets to them regularly in-person and over Zoom.
“It’s not about the money, it’s about someone recognizing how much we care about our job and I was devastated,” Crim explained.
Most other school staff could be eligible for bonuses as well.
School counselor Caroline Ingram said, “It feels pretty disrespectful.”
Paraprofessional John Tabet said, “It feels kind of unfair.”
All 40 SLC District campuses have some kind of on-campus option for students who need it.
Ingram said, “The goal has always been to put students first. So, I don’t think anyone is going to rush to put student safety or teacher safety at risk just to get $1,500. I mean it’s not about the money, it’s about the respect.”
Speaker Brad Wilson said when he announced these checks on Wednesday, that if the Salt Lake School Board votes to return to in-person learning by a January deadline, their teachers will then be eligible for these bonus checks.
ABC4 News reached out to Speaker Wilson for comment on this specific story; he declined.