- Associated Press - Saturday, October 11, 2014

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - The Columbus school district has directed hundreds of teachers and other employees to repay bonuses totaling about $400,000 because they qualified for rewards only after administrators manipulated attendance data affecting school report cards.

The workers received between a few hundred and a few thousand dollars in bonuses for the 2010-11 school year, The Columbus Dispatch reported (https://bit.ly/1yQh5QX). After the state recalculated report cards, the district and union leaders decided to seek paybacks from the 592 workers in nine schools that got bonuses based on manipulated data.

The decision affects 417 teachers, two dozen principals and about 150 other workers, such as custodians and secretaries. They have until June to return the money, either in lumps sums or in certain payment plans.

“At the very beginning, everyone agreed that this was the right thing to do,” the district’s chief of staff, Maria Stockard, said. “These are public dollars.”

The head of the union representing teachers and licensed school workers said the aftermath of the data manipulation by principals and other administrators is now putting innocent school workers in a tough financial position, and the employees are understandably distressed. Some have conveyed that in phone calls to union leaders.

“They’re very upset, and rightfully so. Their question is, ‘This is not my fault. I didn’t do anything wrong,’” Columbus Education Association President Tracey D. Johnson said.

At least 121 of the people ordered to repay bonuses are no longer with Columbus schools. Four are principals who were implicated in the data-scrubbing investigations, the newspaper said.

If employees don’t cooperate, it’s possible they could receive a repayment order in the schools’ next fiscal audit because unearned bonuses could be considered misspending, according to the state auditor’s office.

Bonuses for the past three school years, which were withheld while the state recalculated the report cards, will be distributed in the coming months.


Information from: The Columbus Dispatch, https://www.dispatch.com



Click to Read More

Click to Hide