Portland Public Schools Offering Referral And Retention Bonuses

Photo: Ford, Brad

PPS Superintendent Guadalupe Guerrero and Chief of Human Resources Sharon Reese today announced a referral bonus available to all PPS employees who refer a successful applicant, and a retention bonus for every PPS paraeducator in the district. These bonuses will be considered and voted on by the PPS Board of Education at a special meeting of the school board on Tues., Nov. 9. This announcement and vote by the board comes amid a national staffing shortage worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Like many districts across the US, we are facing remarkable challenges to attract and retain the staff who are critical to serving our students,” said Michelle DePass, Chair of the PPS Board of Education. “I am thrilled to see PPS identify strategic solutions to complex issues, all while recognizing our incredible paraeducators who make a world of difference for our most vulnerable students.”

PPS employees are eligible to receive a $750 referral bonus for any prospective candidate who is hired, remains employed and in good standing for at least 90 days in any of the following positions: custodian, paraprofessional educators, school-based counselors, school-based social workers, school-based QMHP, SPED classroom educators, CRP classroom educators, school psychologists.

“I have heard from many educators across our schools about the individual and collective strain of too many staffing vacancies, which is only magnified by the complex, additional support our students need after returning to in-person learning,” said Sharon Reese, Chief Human Resources Officer. “Referral bonus programs are a great way to tap into qualified potential applicants in our community, and we hope our current employees can help us attract more candidates to PPS.”

PPS also announced a $3,000 retention bonus for every PPS paraeducator in the district. Paraeducators play a particularly important role in schools, providing direct supports for some of the district’s most vulnerable students. This retention bonus provides an additional incentive to attract new candidates to the paraeducator role, and it tangibly demonstrates our community’s deep appreciation for their dedication to the students and school communities this year.

“We are pleased to be able to implement two new strategies to support both the recruitment and retention of school district employees. We hope to encourage applicants to consider a role in public education directly supporting our students and school communities while at the same time also recognizing the dedicated service of an important employee group, our paraeducators at PPS,” stated Superintendent Guadalupe Guerrero.

The $3,000 retention bonus, less withholding taxes, will be paid in two installments to paraeducator employees who are actively working on January 27, 2022 (Installment #1: $1,500) and the end of the 2021-2022 school year (Installment #2: $1,500). This $3,000 bonus is based on a 0.938 FTE and will be prorated for eligible employees who work less than a full time schedule.

Source: Portland School District

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