ELLICOTT CITY, Md. (WJZ) — Howard County Executive Calvin Ball on Monday pledged $8 million to provide bonuses to the county’s educators.

The $8 million, which will come from Howard County’s share of American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds, is meant to reward the efforts of Howard County Public Schools teachers and staff.

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“For our teachers and support staff, these past two years have been especially grueling, and I believe we must retain those committed educators that make our school system among the best in the nation,” Ball said in a letter to the Board of Education.

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Ball also asked the board to consider seeking the state’s blessing to use some of its $43.5 million in federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency of Relief Fund (ESSER) to match the $8 million.

The county has already provided bonus pay to roughly 2,700 full-time and other employees, including public safety and health department workers. Last month, Ball set aside $2 million in ARP funds for signing and retention bonuses for school bus drivers.

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“Our ability to manage and emerge from this pandemic as a model for the nation is built on the sacrifice of our public servants during this unprecedented time,” Ball wrote. “Our educators have been critical to maintaining our high quality of public services throughout the pandemic. I hope you will join us in providing the support needed to recognize their efforts and service to our County.”

CBS Baltimore Staff