Catholic school personnel receive bonuses

Donors’ $1.4M gift provides parity for Catholic school personnel

JEFFERSON CITY – Tears, cries of joy and thankfulness were the reactions on Thursday afternoon, when the principals of the 40 Catholic schools in the Diocese of Jefferson City told their faculty and staff that they would be seeing a bonus in their next paycheck.

The $1.4 million gift from anonymous donors, who live in the diocese, is being distributed to all school employees, including part time, teachers, administration and support staff. The amount varies depending upon the individuals’ role, and is intended to help align Catholic school personnel’s salaries with their public school counterparts’ pay.

Currently, most schools in the diocese have a salary scale that is between 80 and 89 percent of their local public school’s salary scale. The bonuses will bring the take home pay for Catholic school personnel to be closer to the diocesan goal of 90 percent of public school personnel’s pay.

The announcement came via a video from Bishop W. Shawn McKnight as Catholic Schools Week ends across the United States.

“We are blessed with generous people in our diocese, some of whom wanted to help us express our appreciation for the way our teachers and staff have stepped up to these exceptional times,” Bishop McKnight explained. “These people understand all our teachers and staff deserve a shot in the arm (so to speak) as we deal with COVID fatigue.”

Bishop W. Shawn McKnight tells the staff of Catholic schools in the Diocese of Jefferson City about their bonuses.

School principals said the bonuses affirm the dedication and commitment of their teachers and staffs.

“The lengths these teachers have gone to, the creativity they’ve shown and supplemental materials they’ve found in making their lessons come alive through technology, it’s nothing short of amazing,” said Angie Shelangoski, principal of St. Stanislaus Elementary School in Wardsville.

The money is a recognition that the students’ success has been “the result of a lot of hard work and going above and beyond, unbeknownst to many,” explained Anthony Arnold, principal of St. Patrick Elementary School in Rolla. “It’s a beautiful thing to watch, and it is everything Catholic schools are about.”

Mary McCoy, principal of St. Peter Elementary School in Marshall, affirmed the bonuses recognize the sincere dedication of her staff. “We’re here because of our faith, and we believe in what we’re doing.”

There are nearly 6,700 students enrolled in the 37 elementary and three high schools in the diocesan system. A complete list of the schools can be found at The diocesan school system, led by Dr. Erin Vader, is a ministry of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Jefferson City, which includes 38 counties in northeastern and central Missouri and is led by Bishop McKnight.