San Ysidro and Sweetwater Schools to spend COVID-19 funds on teacher raises

Written by Justin Culetu 

After more than a year of online learning, schools have finally been given permission to resume on-campus instruction and are being provided with monetary aid from the state to assist with the reopening process. 

However, Sweetwater and San Ysidro school districts, both controlled by Democrats, plan on using state reopening funds to give monetary incentives to teachers to return to campus. 

Sweetwater Union High School District plans on giving its teachers a one-time 7% pay increase for those who conduct in-person learning on April 12th, and a 2% bonus for the months of May and June for the teachers that return on May 3rd. 

San Ysidro Elementary will be offering a $1,400 stipend to teachers who provide one day a week of in-person instruction to at-risk students and up to $4,950 stipend for teachers who will provide hybrid instruction online and in-person for two days a week, starting on April 12th. 

In order to qualify for the reopening incentive money from the state, schools have to invite a certain number of groups and grade levels on campus by April 1st. Every day after the first of April that a school does not conduct some sort of in-person instruction, the schools lose 1% of their eligible funds. 

Sadly, the bonuses were approved in order to entice teachers to return to campus by April so that the districts can qualify for state funding. Sweetwater initially planned on using a voluntary strategy for the staff to return, but did not have enough teachers volunteering to return according to the district’s teachers union President Julie Walker.  

Teachers have always been required to come into work like any other profession, so why is the school district now allowing them to stay home? A bribe should not have to be used simply to get teachers to come to work. All educators and school staff are eligible for the vaccine, and the CDC has given the green light for in-person learning to resume.

Frontline workers from cops and firefighters to fast food employees have been working in-person throughout the pandemic. With all of the progress that has been made, there is no reason for teachers not to return to the classrooms. 


Photo via Sweetwater High School