Employees of the Morgan County Charter School System woke up Tuesday morning with an early Christmas surprise.

On Monday night, the Morgan County Board of Education in a unanimous vote approved a one time, $1,624.25 bonus for each of its approximately 500 employees. According to Dr. Virgil Cole, superintendent, Morgan County Charter School System, the more than $750,000 expenditure will come from a variety of sources including federal stimulus money, local funds and money from the school system’s unreserved fund balance.

After taxes, Cole said Monday night, each employee can expect a payment from the system of $1,500.

“These payments are our way of thanking each and every employee for the extra work, sacrifice and going above and beyond as we have worked to stay in school through this pandemic,” Dr. Cole told employees in an email he sent all employees Monday night moments, just moments after the board approved the plan.

“I hope you will join me in thanking our Board for their support as well as our Finance Department for getting these out in such a timely manner before the winter holidays,” Dr. Cole wrote.

Dr. Cole said on Tuesday that the “vast majority of the funds” will come from federal stimulus money the system has received that could potentially be earmarked for “continuity of service” and for “hazard pay.”

“There was a lot on them,” Dr. Cole said of the system’s teachers, administrators, para-pros, bus drivers and maintenance staff. “There were some very difficult and stressful times.”

He said the bonus checks where a reward to a staff that continued, despite a pandemic, to “provide a critical part of a child’s life.”

Morgan County Board of Education Chairman Andrew Ainslie III said Monday night after the announcement that the system’s ability to adapt and evolve during the pandemic was demonstrative of planning and forethought.

“We, as a district, have been very fortunate,” he said. “It’s because of great leadership.”

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