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Some BISD teachers may be asked to repay portion of state grant proceeds
by Scott Reese Willey
Sep 20, 2009 | 1652 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Beeville’s public school system received a $160,000 grant from the state of Texas last year to help high school students succeed in class.

Teachers received between $50 and $7,000 for tutoring students, making calls to students’ homes and performing other services required by the Texas Educator Excellence Grant.

Faculty members who participated in the grant project were paid and students received the extra instruction they needed to advance academically.

Now it appears some if not all of the teachers at A.C. Jones High School involved in the grant were paid too much, BISD Superintendent Dr. John Hardwick confirmed Thursday.

“It was an oversight,” he explained. “Someone misunderstood what the bottom line was. The grant money was distributed but after we looked at the fine print we found out some of the money was supposed to go toward benefits, withholdings... We missed it.”

The school district now has to come up with more than $10,000 if the school district wants to abide by the terms of the grant, Hardwick said.

The problem, Hardwick confessed, is finding out how much each teacher was overpaid, if any.

Once that is done the school district has two options, as Hardwick sees it:

“We can either eat it — the school district can absorb the cost — or we can recapture it from the teachers,” he said.

Taking the money out of the school budget is not as easy as it may seem, he noted.

“We have to be accountable to the taxpayer,” he said. “We can’t just make up the difference with public funds. The public expects us to be responsible with their money.”

On the other hand, the school district has to take into account that some of the JHS teachers who participated in the grant project may well have already spent their money, perhaps as a down payment on an automobile or a house, Hardwick concedes.

Fortunately, BISD has until October to figure out how much each teacher actually earned, and how much they were paid or overpaid. Once that is determined, Hardwick said, the school district can decide how best to resolve the mistake.

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