Teachers Asked to Pay Back $1,250 Bonuses

(LibertySociety.com) – An accidental error by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) compensation department resulted in 225 teachers receiving a $1,250 bonus. The money was meant to be used to incentivize new teachers to work for the school. However, the bonus was accidentally processed with the $200 retention bonus that current teachers receive each month. The payment showed up in the teachers’ bank accounts on January 12, but the compensation department did not notice the error until January 17. The following day, the teachers were notified by email of the accidental payment.

The school district released a statement of apology but made clear that the money would have to be paid back. The teachers have the option of paying the entire $1,250 back all at once, or a three-month repayment plan with the amount automatically deducted from their paychecks. The district also said that it was aware that the unintentional bonus could have created challenges for teachers, but that they were “committed to working closely” with those affected. The statement concluded with an apology for “any distress or inconvenience.”

Teacher shortages have become a problem in most states in the country since the pandemic, but low pay has always been a hot-button topic. North Carolina lawmakers held a hearing in the House Select Committee on Education Reform on January 22 to hear from experts about the issue. Executive director of BestNC, Brenda Berg, testified during the hearing. BestNC is a non-profit organization that advocates for improving the state’s education system. She told lawmakers that teacher pay should be raised to $58,000 annually, noting that teachers with the highest experience levels do not currently make that much. She said that teachers should not have to wait until they have been working for 15 years to make a livable wage.

She also argued that the state should increase teacher pay to compete with other industries, which would attract more students to choose teaching as a career. First-year teachers currently make $41,000 annually, which is the lowest salary among all states in the southeastern portion of the country.

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