(The Center Square) – Austin, Texas, schools spent $3 million in federal emergency funds to encourage staff to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
The district spent the money in 2021-22 but the school district received a report at its recent school board meeting with details on how it spent the federal COVID emergency money.
The report shows that the district received three different infusions of federal relief money during the pandemic. The first was $17.29 million, the second was $69.28 million and the final installment was $155.64 million for a total of $242.82 million.
Reports show that Austin Independent School District spent $3.06 million for teachers and staff for COVID-19 Vaccine Incentive Programs.
One of the programs offered a one-time incentive of $250 for employees if fully vaccinated by Oct. 15, 2021. Both regular full-time and part-time employees who became fully vaccinated and shared proof of vaccination were eligible to receive the $250 incentive.
Substitutes, hourly, and temporary employees were not eligible to receive the incentive.
“By incentivizing staff to get vaccinated, in addition to requiring masks, the goal is to have a multi-layered approach to making campuses as safe as possible.” the district said on its website.
The report goes on to say that participation is voluntary, and exemptions were available to staff who were unable to receive the vaccine due to medical or religious reasons.