CUSD Grants Employees COVID Compensation

CUSD Superintendent Eimear O’Farrell addressing the CUSD board on April 22, 2021. (CUSD YouTube)

The Clovis Unified School District (CUSD) plans to compensate its full-time employees with a one-time payment for their efforts to serve the district students during the pandemic.

Approval for the compensation came during Wednesday’s CUSD Governing board meeting.

Employees will receive a payment of $4,000, which will come from a mixture of funds from the CUSD general fund and money saved from cuts that the district made last year.

“What has resulted is that our general fund has a very healthy reserve, and this one-time and off-schedule recognition is from those funds,” said CUSD Superintendent Dr. Eimear O’Farrell.

Dr. O’Farrell said that the Employee Compensation Committee (ECC) and administration avoided cuts to employee salaries and areas that would affect the students. She also noted that the district saved money last spring during the switch to at-home learning.

For parents concerned that the compensation will take from recently received CARES Act and COVID funds, Dr. O’Farrell says that those funds will only be used to mitigate learning loss and expand learning opportunities for students.

A committee is currently working toward achieving this goal in preparation for the summer and fall.

Starting in October, the ECC and the Employee Benefits Committee (EBC) have deliberated for months evaluating the governor’s January budget proposal and preparing for the May budget revision.

The consensus felt that CUSD employees deserved recognition for their work over the past 13-months.

“We were encouraged by our governing board to do the work that’s being done to take care of our employees and recognize the work that’s been done over these past 13-plus months,” said Associate Superintendent Barry Jager.

During the board meeting, multiple board members highlighted the amount of work employees put in over the past year and expressed their gratitude toward them throughout the session.

“We’ve had some funds come in, and to be able to recognize our employees for the amazing hard work that they put in…I’m proud to be able to be in a position to do that,” said board member Tiffany Stoker Madsen.

Employee appreciation

In addition to the compensation payment, the board approved various resolutions showing appreciation towards its employees and educators.

The board showed appreciation to the district’s bus drivers, adult educators, campus catering employees, school nurses and CUSD employees as a whole.

Resolutions to enact April 27 as Bus Driver Appreciation Day, April 19 to 23 as California Adult Education Week, May 7 as School Lunch Hero Day, May 12 as School Nurse Day and the month of May as Employee Appreciation Month within the CUSD all passed, respectively.

Dr. O’Farrell also announced that the district has two educators chosen as finalists for the 2021 Fresno County Superintendent of Schools Annual Education Awards.

Clovis West High School student relations liaison Richard Delgado, is one of three finalists for the school Employee of the Year. And first-grade teacher at Cole Elementary School, Sherri Johnson, is one of three finalists for Teacher of the Year.

The award ceremony is going to take place at the William Saroyan Theatre on Nov. 18.

“I had a lot of fun at the last two mornings, surprising them,” Dr. O’Farrell said. “And we look forward to Nov. 18 at the William Saroyan Theatre, where we’ll all be down there to cheer them on.”

She also congratulated Associate Superintendent of School Leadership Dr. Corrine Folmer, Principal Dr. Ryan Eisele and Deputy Principal Dr. Sonia Torrossian at Reagan Educational Center. They each successfully defended their dissertations in the Fresno State educational doctors program.

“Doc Buchanan used to say if you want to develop winners, you need to surround our students with winners,” said Dr. O’Farrell.

Dr. O’Farrell ended the meeting by once again thanking the employees for the work they’ve done during the pandemic.

“It has been a very, very challenging year…And you’ve heard me say over and over again. Our people are our greatest resource,” Dr. O’Farrell. “We will always remember the time that we didn’t forget. That [it] was our people who brought us through.”

Anthony De Leon
Anthony De Leon is a journalist who started his career in 2017, covering sports for the Fresno City College Rampage, earning his Associate Degree in the process. He then moved on to Fresno State, working for The Collegian serving as Sports Editor, Managing Editor and Editor-in-Chief. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in print journalism. In August, he will begin attending Reynold’s School of Journalism Master’s program at the University of Nevada, Reno.