A dedicated lunchroom worker is being forced to pay back thousands of dollars after a payroll error was detected after six years. With this, Christie Payne has come to the media’s attention for help.
Payne recently received a letter from Chilton County Schools outlining the alleged overpayment. The letter, signed by Superintendent Jason Griffin, said that the overpayment totals $23,465.40 and began during the 2016-2017 school year.
“A review of financial records reveals that you were overpaid by the Chilton County Board of Education,” the letter said.
“The employee went from assistant manager to manager,” the letter said. “The employee should have started at step 0 or the manager schedule but was given years of experience as an assistant.”
“A review of financial records reveals that you were overpaid by the Chilton County Board of Education as follows: amount of overpayment: Gross $23,465.40. Date overpayment occurred: started 16-17 school year.”
Below is the demand letter sent to Christie Payne:
In the letter, the school district pointed out that Payne was paid considerably more than the market rate, which is why they were expecting her to return the excess money.
“Explanation of overpayment: the employee went from assistant manager to manager. The employee should have started at step 0 of the manager schedule but was given years of experience as an assistant. As of March 31, 2022, you have been overpaid $23.465.40. Every month this is not taken care of will add the amount of $254 to the total.”
The letter outlines three options for repaying the money. Payne can pay $325.91 monthly for 72 months, $3,910.90 annually for the next six years, or pay in one lump sum.
“We propose the following repayment schedule. 1) The amount of $325.91 to be taken from your checks starting with April 2022 and for the next 72 months. 2) You can pay $3,910.90 once a year for the next six years. 3) You can pay in one lump sum.”
Payne was stunned upon receiving the letter and insisted that she was not aware of the problem.
“I had no idea this was happening,” Payne said. “Now I have seven days to fix a six-year mistake made by the payroll department.”
According to ‘AWM’ Payne was stuck in a hard space because the Alabama school district failed to properly pay her the right amount of money for a number of years.
The letter added, “If you object to the overpayment amount or wish to propose another repayment schedule, you must submit a written response, alternate repayment plan, and it must be received in the Finance Department within seven calendar days upon the receipt of this letter.”
As of right now, it is unclear what Payne plans to do or how she will respond to the school district’s request for repayment.
Payne has been working in the lunchroom for the last six years and says she loves her job. It’s hard to imagine that the school would want her to pay back such a large sum of money, especially given the fact that it was their mistake in the first place. Hopefully, this story will have a happy ending, and Payne will be able to keep her job and not have to worry about repaying such a large sum of money.