Spring ISD to claw back overpayment of some teacher stipends

The Teacher Effectiveness Incentive Program gives teachers who meet specific criteria stipends anywhere from $2,000 to $5,500.

Neff Early Learning Center Sensory Room
Ayaan Agha and teacher Cristina Garza

Spring ISD will hold a meeting on Wednesday at 7 p.m. to discuss the apparent overpayment of stipends given to its teachers. The school district says those overpaid will need to pay the funds back.

The Teacher Effectiveness Incentive Program gives teachers who meet specific criteria eligible to receive stipends anywhere from $2,000 to $5,500. Some ways to qualify include: bilingual, elementary ESL, secondary ESL, and adaptive behavior special education.

Spring ISD said they have an ongoing internal process review of the program, and auditors discovered a sorting error.

“As part of Spring ISD's ongoing internal process review, a complete audit was conducted of the Teacher Effectiveness Incentive Program,” Kristen Cobb, a spokesperson for the district, said. “During this audit, there were underpayments and overpayments discovered due to a sorting error while processing.”

She said that the overpayment is scheduled to be repaid over 19 checks through December 24.

Cobb added that some teachers were also underpaid, and they received pay on their March 10 paychecks.

“The individuals who were overpaid were notified on Monday, March 20… Additionally, employees were provided an opportunity to contact payroll individually to make arrangements for extenuating circumstances,” an emailed statement said.

“In all accounting and payroll practices, including the disbursement of earned stipends, Spring ISD aims for 100% accuracy. However, human error can occur from time to time. As a responsible steward of taxpayer dollars, we must recoup any funds that are incorrectly distributed, as is the case in this instance. We are currently analyzing all of our processes to ensure this does not occur in the future.”

No official approval will take place at the meeting, and it is only an administrative update.

Cobb said that currently no funding source has been identified to continue the program.

“Therefore, at this time, the program is not scheduled to continue,” she said.