Longview Independent School District (LISD) employees who make a commitment to work with the district through 2012-2013 will each receive a $500 bonus to be paid as early as this week. During a special Monday meeting the LISD Board of Trustees four of the board’s seven members (three were absent) approved this staffing and retention incentive by a 4-0 vote. The incentive applies to all school district employees whether part- or full-time.

Deputy Superintendent Andrea Mayo reports the employees will be notified of their gratuity this week. Those accepting the $500 must sign an agreement to remain with the LISD through 2012-2013. Any workers leaving the district’s employ before the end of this period will have $500 deducted from their final payroll check.

This incentive comes one year after the district implemented an across-the-board salary freeze for the 2011-2012 school year. By saving the LISD approximately $1.5 million this freeze saved the jobs of 40 full-time employees who would have been laid off otherwise.

“We tightened our belts last year,” said Mayo. “We wanted to pass along some of those savings to everyone.”

Assistant Superintendent Lynn Marshall reports that with the district’s 1200 or so employees the incentive program will cost about $600,000, to be taken from the district’s general fund balance. The incentive is expected to save time and money in the filling of vacant positions.

“We want to know who is returning, who is retiring and who is going elsewhere,” said Mayo. “This encourages people to let us know right now.”