Swamp Watch: PGCPS keeps bonus money conditions a secret from new hires

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PGPCS interim Chief Executive Officer Monica Goldson. (ABC7)

In March, Prince George’s County Public Schools will be handing out $1.5 million of bonus checks to 520 new hires. Teachers say the District left out several important details back in the spring of 2018 when it used the bonuses as a hiring incentive.

Earlier this year the I-Team exposed the District had yet to inform teachers when the bonus money would be paid out even though the District had been sitting on the grant money since July.

This District email sent to new hires in January is another bomb shell. It wants teachers to sign an agreement that states if they accepted any bonus money they couldn’t leave the District for the next three years. If they did, they would have to pay all the bonus money back.

Here is a copy of the email sent to new hires in January:

Greetings PGCPS Educator:

You have been identified as an eligible recipient for one or more Teacher and School Leader (TSL) recruitment incentives based on the requirements below:

Early Hire Incentive

Signed a Regular Contract by June 30, 2018 for the 2018-2019 school year

Holds a Maryland Professional Certificate or Resident Teacher Certificate

Bilingual Incentive

Signed a Regular Contract for the 2018-2019 school year

Holds a Maryland Professional Certificate or Resident Teacher Certificate

Bilingual in an identified target language (Spanish, French, or Mandarin Chinese)

Deployed to a TSL School Incentive

New hire who signed a Regular Contract for the 2018-2019 school year

Tenured teacher who transferred from a non-TSL school to a TSL school for the 2018-2019 school year

Holds a Maryland Professional Certificate or Resident Teacher Certificate

In preparation for disbursement of the recruitment incentives, as part of the federal grant, the Division of Human Resources will host three Signing Day events for eligible employees. During this event, you will review and sign the Teacher Incentive Program Agreement Form in the presence of a notary public.

Eligible recipients are required to attend and sign the Teacher Incentive Program Agreement Form in order to receive the incentive. Please note we are unable to disburse incentive funding in the absence of a signed and notarized agreement.

The Signing Day events will be held at Dr. Henry A. Wise High School, 12650 Brooke Lane, Upper Marlboro, in the auditorium from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. on the following dates:

Tuesday, February 12

Wednesday, February 13

Thursday, February 14

You are required to have one of the following valid and original forms of identification for the notary public.

State-issued driver’s license

State-issued identification card

U.S. military identification card

Resident alien identification card (green card)

U.S. passport

After the notarized Teacher Incentive Program Agreement Form has been signed and received, eligible recipients can expect disbursements on Friday, March 8. Disbursements will be processed using the same method in which you receive your biweekly paycheck.

As a reminder, recipients of the financial incentives must serve as a classroom teacher for three consecutive years at their current school. In the event that recipients fail to fully satisfy the employment obligation, he/she must repay in full all monies provided through the Teacher Incentive Program via the Teacher and School Leaders (TSL) Grant.

Thank you for your commitment to the students of Prince George’s County Public Schools!

Sincerely,

TSL Grant Team

Division of Human Resources

We’re hiding the identity of district employees, because they fear for their jobs.

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Scott Taylor talks with a district employee, identity hidden. (ABC7)

“Everything should be transparent?” asks I-Team Reporter Scott Taylor.

“Right, from the beginning,” says a new School District hire.

“And you don’t think it was?” says Scott Taylor.

“No, it was only then last week when they come transparent because they had too,” says the new hire.

The bonuses range from $3,000 to $9,000. School board member David Murray is not happy with the District’s last minute details.

“I think it’s unfair to ask teachers to be held to a standard that they didn’t agree to and I think if we are focused on teacher retention we need to be honest with all our perspective applicants up front,” says David Murray, PGCPS Board Member (District 2).

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David Murray, PGCPS Board Member (District 2). (ABC7)

The District’s interim Chief Executive Officer Monica Goldson declined again to answer our questions on camera but the District did admit in an email it made a mistake.

While a repayment clause is standard for incentive pay agreements, we accept responsibility for not providing employees with clear information at the time of the offer. It is always our goal to be timely and transparent with our staff. In recent weeks, we have communicated next steps and the expected date of payment with the affected employees.

Thanks,

Raven Hill | Communications Officer

Office of Communications

Prince George’s County Public Schools

One district employee believes this is the wrong message to send to students.

“We are not teaching them honesty and transparency. In school we teach them values and this is not something else we need to air on television because we are not teaching anything but confusion,” says a new hire.

7 On Your Side reached out to the U.S. Department of Education who declined our on-camera interview request but emailed:

“Although the U.S. Department of Education encourages timely and transparent communication with all stakeholders, there is no specific requirement in the TSL program around the timeline or process for communicating with participants regarding recruitment incentives. The TSL program does not prescribe or require applicants to include in their grant applications specific details around stakeholder communication. PGCPS’ grant application does not state that the district intended to request repayment of incentives to new hires that do not remain in the classroom for 3 consecutive years. The TSL program does not prescribe or require applicants to include in their grant applications specific details around incentive payment processes.”

Elaine Quesinberry

Press Office

U.S. Dept. of Education

The bonus checks are expected to be paid out on March 8th, something the teachers had no idea of until the I-Team got involved.

Via wjla 7

Read more >>> Major Outrage as Architect of an Organized Scheme Monica Goldson is appointed Acting CEO of PGCPS

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