ACS again surprises teachers with extra compensation

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

ALABASTER – Thompson Intermediate School fifth-grade teacher Christopher Schmidt, who is wrapping up his first semester at the school, said he had never received a welcome quite like he received the morning of Nov. 21.

“I had no clue this was happening, but it’s a great surprise,” Schmidt said a few minutes after Alabaster School Superintendent Dr. Wayne Vickers and several members of the city’s School Board and central school office visited his classroom to hand-deliver an “extraordinary compensation” check.

“This is like saying ‘Welcome to Alabaster,’” added Schmidt, who has 17 years of total education experience. “This is fantastic, especially with the holidays coming up. I haven’t looked at how much it is yet, but whatever it is, it will help a lot.”

Schmidt was one of hundreds of Alabaster City Schools employees who received hand-delivered checks on Nov. 21. While this is the third consecutive year the school system has provided extraordinary compensation checks to its employees, school leaders did not announce when they were distributing them or how much the checks would be this year.

“We are so pleased to be able to provide these extraordinary compensation checks for our teachers,” Vickers said. “They work so hard, and they will be doing a lot of work moving forward with our comprehensive plan and with moving schools next year.”

Each ACS certified employee, which includes most teachers, received $600 checks, and classified employees, such as support staff and school resource officers, received $300 checks. In total, the school system distributed $387,181 worth of extraordinary compensation checks this year.

“This is such a pleasant gift. My husband will be even more excited about it than I am,” said TIS fifth-grade teacher Ann Jay Harrison. “It’s especially exciting with all of those Black Friday sales coming up.”

As in past years, the day was full of plenty of smiles, hugs and even some tears from ACS employees who said they planned to use the money to help cover everything from Christmas shopping to vehicle repairs and medical expenses.

Alabaster School Board President Adam Moseley said it was one of his favorite days of the year.

“It’s fun to be able to give them checks, but to be able to shake their hands, look them in the eye and tell them ‘Thank you for what you do for the kids,’ that’s the part I enjoy the most,” Moseley said.