At Whitko Community Schools, it pays to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
The 1,200-student district is using federal coronavirus relief dollars to reward employees with $100 once they submit a copy of their vaccination card showing they are fully vaccinated.
Superintendent Steve Darnell said the decision was “pure incentive,” adding the district wanted to do its part in reducing the threat of the coronavirus.
“Our administration wanted a way to encourage participation in all staff getting the vaccination,” Darnell said by email. “A neighboring district was offering a cash stipend that seemed to encourage their staff to be vaccinated. Meijer had stepped up and wanted to offer vaccinations to educators, so it became a natural next step to combine the two incentives of a stipend and a clinic to get the vaccine.”
The Meijer in Warsaw offered shots to Whitko employees on March 17.
About 20 employees who were previously fully vaccinated have submitted their documentation for the stipend, Darnell said. Many employees are awaiting their second doses.
Whitko anticipates it will spend $17,500 for the stipend and payroll taxes for 150 employees, Darnell said. The district expects a participation rate of about 75%. The original coronavirus relief funding will support the costs, Darnell said.
According to the Indiana Department of Education, Whitko received about $241,156 last spring. Its second COVID-19 funding allocation is about $940,640.
Whitko has reported at least 74 COVID-19 cases affecting students and employees to the state virus dashboard.