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Springfield Teachers Must Give Back $1.2M

More than 1,400 Springfield public school teachers have been overpaid by a combined $1.2 million since the beginning of the school year and will have to pay the money back.

Superintendent Alan Ingram said Wednesday the "unacceptable" error lies with the system's payroll department and he will discuss repayment plans that are "humane and appropriate" at Thursday's school committee meeting.

He says teachers who were eligible for a pay increase under a new contract were inadvertently given an additional step raise. The district has about 2,500 teachers.

"It just was pretty disappointing to know that we would now have to contend with another issue that could have quite possibly been avoided," said school committee Vice Chair Denise Hurst.

Teachers union President Timothy Collins says he checked with the Massachusetts Teachers Association legal division, which confirmed that teachers must repay the money. Some may owe more than $1,000.

Echoing Ingram, Hurst says school officials will work with the union to figure out what works best for them.

"We will try and come up with an agreeable recommendations to how teachers can pay the money back without it being a terrible, you know, hardship," she said.

With reporting from the WBUR Newsroom and The Associated Press.

This program aired on March 3, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.

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