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Sahuarita Unified School District has given pay raises or one-time stipends to all their employees, despite financial challenges presented by the pandemic.

The governing board approved the raises in November.

There were 407 certified staff, which includes teachers, who received a stipend of $1,000.

A total of 426 support staff, who are hourly employees, received a 50-cent hourly raise.

Prior to the 50-cent raise, the district had 133 employees with hourly rates below the new minimum wage of $12.80, which went into effect Jan. 1.

SUSD also permanently bumped the pay of substitute teachers from $95 a day to $100 starting on Nov. 27, to address the substitute teacher shortage.

A spokesperson for the school said while they can't confirm a direct correlation between the pay increase and the number of subs, the district has hired three substitute teachers in the last two months and have four more pending since the announcement of the raise.

The district has also experienced a shortage of bus drivers, like many other districts.

In November, SUSD announced it would consolidate about 90 percent of its bus routes because of a lack of drivers.

The board approved one-time emergency stipends of $1,000 for bus drivers who committed to staying through the rest of school year.

All 38 SUSD drivers will receive the retention stipend, either the full amount or prorated at the end of the school year.

SUSD did not use any federal relief money for pay increases. The majority of the funds came from its General Fund.

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