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La Joya ISD pays employees $2.4M in Christmas bonus

LA JOYA—Christmas stockings for children whose parents work for the La Joya Independent School District may be more stuffed this year thanks to the school board.  


During a special meeting Dec. 12 the La Joya ISD Board of Trustees voted to provide all district employees with a one-time supplemental holiday payment of $500.  


The district has 4,747 employees including teachers and auxiliary workers like custodians and school bus drivers across 29 campuses, according to the district’s public information office. Though the district did not release the exact total of the bonuses, School Board President Oscar O. “Coach” Salinas said all staff members should have received the bonus by today. Calls to the district’s finance office were not returned by press time but if each employee received a bonus the total comes to $2,373,500.


Salinas said the board met with the district’s budget and finance department to discuss budgeting the money prior to authorizing the bonus pay.


“It’s basically a way to help out staff members as this bonus will also be received by administrative staff and auxiliary workers,” Salinas said, noting the district last paid a holiday bonus in 2012 in a similar amount.


“When we gave out that first bonus, it was to avoid having a revolving door of teachers leaving the district. Since 2012 we’ve succeeded in giving out yearly raises and motivating our staff and we’d like to continue that to ensure everyone has a secure Christmas so they return to us happy in the next school year,” Salinas said.


Salinas said supplemental pay is subject to the federal income tax and estimated employees would receive approximately $450 after the tax.


Newly appointed board member Alex Cantu pushed this bonus as part of his platform during November’s school board election. Cantu agreed the bonus would be a good way to help district employees.


“It’s very difficult to do your job when you don’t have the necessary resources to fulfill them,” Cantu said. “We want to retain as many teachers as we can so we want to give them incentives for the good things they bring to the job.  If you have employees who are not happy with their job, that negative attitude transfers onto our children so we want to see that everyone is good to go.”

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