CMS gives hundreds of teachers bonuses they must now pay back

CHARLOTTE — The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools district accidentally gave recruitment bonuses to 225 high school English teachers, officials announced Friday.

The teachers got the $1,250 bonus on paychecks dated Jan. 12.

Those bonuses were supposed to go to new teachers.

“This was an unfortunate oversight,” the district said in a statement.

“Employees will have the option of repaying the bonus in a lump sum from their February check or may choose a payment plan with deductions over three months,” the district said.

The compensation department found out about the overpayments on Wednesday.

CMS School Board Chairwoman Stephanie Sneed fielded calls about it all day Friday after the notice went to the teachers.

“We all know and agree that teachers do not make enough money and that’s something we fight for all the time and so for an error like this to occur, completely understand how distressing this can be,” Sneed said.

The district must try to reclaim or coup overpayments of state funds, Sneed said citing North Carolina general statutes.

Sneed and some of her colleagues on the board believe there is a gentler way of doing that.

“The best way to do that is where it can have the least impact as possible,” Sneed said. “I am confident that the analysis of what happened is occurring now, and that efforts will be put in place so that it does not happen again.”

The district apologized for the mix-up.

“We value the work of all CMS employees and sincerely apologize for any distress or inconvenience,” the district stated.

The teachers do get a monthly retention critical shortage differential of $200 a month.

VIDEO: CMS board approves another round of retention bonuses

Jonathan Lowe

Jonathan Lowe, wsoctv.com

Jonathan is a reporter for WSOC-TV.