Overpaid school employee who repaid funds says recent ones should, too

Published 11:35 am Wednesday, May 18, 2022

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By JOYANNA LOVE | Managing Editor

Recent letters that had been sent out to two employees that were overpaid was a topic of discussion during the May 17 Chilton County Board of Education meeting.

During the annual public comment meeting prior to the voting session, Frances Allison said she was a CNP employee who was overpaid during the 2016-2017 school year.

She had been paid at the manager rate, rather than the assistant manager rate.

She said she signed a letter that she would repay.

“It was deducted out of my paycheck from March until August $593.19,” Allison said.

She said this created a hardship, but she was not given another option.

“I was able to work in the summer program and that’s how I made it,” Allison said.

At the time, she had spoken to the local education association chapter president and was told that the funds had to be repaid.

Allison emphasized that since she had been required to pay back the school system for being overpaid, then everyone else should be required to also.

“I know it’s hard and it don’t seem like it’s fair for us to pay it back, but right is right,” she said.

Neither the current superintendent or the current chief school financial officer were working in these roles during the 2016-2017 school year.

Recently, lunchroom manager Christie Payne and Shellie Smith, a nurse who became a teacher four years ago, have both received letter requiring that they repay funds to the school system because they had been overpaid for several years. They are in talks with the Alabama Education Association’s legal team.

Under old and new business, board member Lori Patterson questioned who had authorized the two recent letters being sent.

It was mentioned that Board President Pam Price authorized the letters.

“Does the board president have the authority to give a directive on behalf of the board without the board knowing about it?” Patterson asked.

Price said she had individually called board members when she found out about the overpayments “and the law was and policy (was) that we were to collect it and is that what each of you want to do?  Everybody said yes.”

Patterson said she had issue with the way it was handled because she was getting questions about it and did not know that letters were being sent out.

Board member Jaqueline Sullivan said letters being sent out had also been decided at a meeting, but the date for when letters would be sent out had not been discussed.

Patterson said she had only missed meetings in January and February, so it could have been one of them.

“The only mention in the minutes is a January meeting, where Mrs. Price had asked ‘What’s the status?’” Board Vice President Chris Smith said.

“If she is asking for a status then it means it was discussed before that,” Sullivan said.

Later, Smith asked that the board vote on new leadership at its next meeting.

Also during the meeting:

  • Approval for a truck purchase for the transportation department was rescinded. Price asked that specifications for a bid be brought to the June board meeting so that the bid process could start.
  • Facility use for Blast From the Past for 2023 was approved. A number of other facility rentals were also approved.
  • Sullivan asked for a plan in writing outlining how the school system was working to hire more minority employees. Superintendent Jason Griffin said the school system is welcoming all qualified candidates, and he would email her a plan the next day.
  • The purchase of a new electronic scorer’s table for Maplesville High School was approved. The equipment will be purchased using state technology funds.

There will be a special called meeting of the Chiton County Board of Education for personnel on June 2 at 6 p.m.