Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Glitch Has School District Overpaying Some Teachers

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Glitch Has School District Overpaying Some Teachers

Article excerpt

MANATEE COUNTY

BRADENTON -- The Manatee County School District is trying to determine why some teachers are receiving too much money in their paychecks.

At a recent School Board meeting, Lee Middle School teacher Molly Westbrook, who has a master's degree and four years of experience in the district, asked why she was making $1,200 less than a new teacher with a master's degree. She said another teacher, who has only a bachelor's degree, earns $300 more a year than she does.

No one knew about the problem until the teachers started talking about the salaries, discovered the issue and came forward. It is unclear how many teachers are being overpaid.

"I'm sad because it's March, and we're just recognizing this problem," said Pat Barber, president of the Manatee Education Association, the union for teachers and paraprofessionals.

She said the union and school district are working collaboratively. Together, they will find out how the problem happened and how many teachers are affected, figure out a resolution and notify employees.

This week, Westbrook said she was glad officials are finally looking into the matter, which she brought up to the union and human resources department in January before addressing the School Board.

Both Barber and Sarah Brown, chief human resources officer for the district, said they were restricted from elaborating about the issue because the district and union are in negotiations and examining the salaries of each teacher.

"It's not uncommon to have glitches when you implement a new salary schedule," Barber said.

Some of the 300 teachers hired for the 2015-2016 school year were wrongly elevated on the salary schedule, Brown said, although the number affected will not be known until investigations resume after spring break. The mistake is limited to this school year, because each instructional employee was correctly placed as the district moved from an old pay scale to the new one for the 2014-2015 school year. …

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