The Conway Board of Education approved a bonus recommendation for all district employees during its regular meeting Tuesday.

A ballot for all contracted employees, licensed and classified, was recently sent out for a vote and included two options: 1.) A 1.4 percent bonus to all employees based on their annual total contracted wages and 2.) A bonus to every employee in the district that included a $200 amount for everyone, combined with an amount equal to one 1 percent of their annual total contracted wages.

While the district currently has 1,171 total staff, only 1,098 voted, with Option 2 coming out on top with 651 votes.

"Our entire staff appreciates very much that our [school board] has been very generous over the years to provide a Christmas Bonus," Superintendent Greg Murry wrote in a memo to board members Dec. 12. "We are happy to recommend that you do so again this year."

Murry wrote that the amount of the bonuses came down to revenue available and based on review, the district believed there was "sufficient allocated revenue to provide" for the seasonal money.

Communication Specialist Heather Kendrick said several board members mentioned during the meeting that they were happy to see how employees in the district voted in favor of the bonus opportunity being given to everyone.

"Not everyone voted necessarily in only their own interest," Kendrick said.

In total, 430 licensed employees voted for Option 1 and 284 voted for Option 2, while 17 classified employees voted for Option 1, and 367 voted for Option 2.

Melinda Francis, an instructional facilitator for the district, said she voted for Option 2, not because it would benefit her but because it would give opportunity to everyone in the district, especially those who may not make as much as others but are just as important to the students and the schools.

Francis has worked in Conway Public Schools for eight years and said the district and the school board have always done as much as they can for the teachers and the staff.

She said this Christmas bonus will give her and her family a chance to spend a little bit more time together this holiday season and possibly take a trip.

"We are pleased to recognize the outstanding work of our employees with this Christmas bonus," Murry said. "Their diligent and effective work continues to keep us on target to do whatever it takes for every child."

Checks were issued today, December 15.

During the meeting, the board also approved out-of-district student transfers including one child to Mayflower School District and seven to Greenbrier School District.