The Marietta Board of Education voted 6-0 Thursday night, with Jeriene Bonner-Grimes abstaining, to award nearly $33,500 worth of gift cards to the hundreds of employees who went above and beyond their normal duties, board members said.
“It was a time that truly brought out the best in people,” said Superintendent Emily Lembeck.
She brought the idea to the board at a special meeting Thursday as she thought the district’s employees should be recognized for their extra work.
“When our schools do it right, no one can do it better,” Lembeck said.
One board member didn’t think it was appropriate to offer awards to the district’s employees.
Grimes, who joined the board in January, said she did not have a good experience when her ninth-grade daughter was stuck at Marietta High School overnight.
“I didn’t have a personal good experience with my daughter,” Grimes said.
The rest of the board voted in favor of awarding the gift cards.
Lembeck assigned different titles and monetary rewards, correlating with the extra time spent on the job, for the employees who stayed with Marietta students as snow fell across the metro Atlanta region Jan. 28.
Hundreds of students spent the night at schools across the district, sitting in buses stuck in gridlocked traffic for hours and were fed and watched by Marietta staff.
An estimated 407 Marietta City School district employees stayed late. An estimated 145 “crusaders” stayed at schools or on buses late into the night and will be awarded $50 gift cards, and 262 “marathoners” spent the night at schools or in buses and will receive $100 gift cards.
The bonuses will be paid out of the general fund and are estimated to cost $33,450.
Once the names are confirmed and the cards processed, Lembeck said she hopes the employees will receive their gift cards by the end of March.