Uh oh, never to have to pay back a bonus! Well, that just happened for some Columbus teachers. According to Columbus Underground, an email was sent to Columbus City Schools teachers from Superintendent Dan Good today, stating that performance-based bonuses that were distributed incorrectly due to administrative data tampering during the 2010-2011 school year would need to be repaid by teachers to the district. The repayment request is expected to be completed by June 2015, and includes former teachers who no longer work for the district.
The full email sent to teachers can be found below:
Dear Columbus City Schools Colleagues:
For many years, Columbus City Schools (CCS) has sponsored a bonus program for school staff commonly called Gainsharing for certificated staff and Performance Based Incentives (PBI) for classified staff. Under those programs, school-based employees, including administrators, teachers and support staff, receive a bonus if their school achieves a level of academic achievement known as Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP). The determination of whether a school made AYP was and is made by the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) and is reflected on the school’s state report card.
In August 2011, ODE issued report cards which showed that several CCS schools had made AYP for the 2010-2011 school year, including Africentric Early College High School, Eastmoor Academy High School, Marion-Franklin High School, Mifflin High School, Whetstone High School, Como Elementary School, Parkmoor Elementary School, West Mound Elementary School, and Westgate Elementary School. Based on the school report cards issued at that time, the District committees awarded Gainsharing and Performance Based Incentive bonuses to employees of those buildings, which generally were paid in November 2011.
Subsequent to those payments being made, student data reported to the state from those and other District schools were questioned by ODE and the report cards for the 2010-2011, 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 school years were watermarked by ODE indicating that they would be subject to further review.
In light of questions about the report cards, the District delayed Gainsharing and Performance Based Incentive decisions for the 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 school years until ODE finished its examination of the District’s data. That examination was completed in August 2014. Based on conclusions ODE reached as a result of the review, ODE recalculated report cards of some CCS schools and, among other things, made final decisions about which District schools met AYP during those three years and which did not. The recalculated state report cards changed the AYP measurement for the above-mentioned schools for 2010-2011 from “Met” to “Not Met.”
The reissuance of 2010-2011, 2011-2012, and 2012-2013 report cards requires the District to recover Gainsharing and Performance Based Incentive bonuses from certain employees for the 2010-2011 school year and pay gainsharing bonus to employees who worked in schools at which ODE has determined that AYP was achieved for the 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 school years. This will be accomplished in two ways:
For current District employees who worked in one of the earlier mentioned schools and received bonus payments for the 2010-2011 school year: You will be personally notified by letter of the amount you owe and given a choice to make repayments through payroll deductions or repay in a lump sum. Payroll deductions will be made on a bi-weekly basis through June 2015.
Former District employees who worked in one of the earlier mentioned schools and received bonus payments for the 2010-2011 school year will be personally notified by letter of the amount owed and given a choice to repay the bonus in a lump sum or on a monthly basis through June 2015.
Current and former employees will receive a letter with more details concerning repayment, by October 20th. A meeting has been scheduled for Wednesday, October 22, 2014, at 4:00 p.m., and will be held at Columbus Downtown High School. District team members will be available to answer questions regarding the gainsharing recovery.
Employees who are entitled to gainsharing, PBI, and PAS bonuses for the 2011-2012, 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 school years will be paid those bonuses. These are the anticipated dates for payment:
Payment for the 2011-12 school year is expected to be made on November 14, 2014. A separate check will be issued.
Payment for the 2012-13 school year is expected to be made on November 28, 2014. A separate check will be issued.
Payments for 2013-14 are expected to be made in December 2014. The bonus will be included with a regularly scheduled pay.
SIG bonuses for eligible employees will be calculated after gainsharing and other bonus payments are made.
I appreciate your understanding as the District makes these necessary adjustments. This is a continuation of our effort to ensure the integrity of data reported by our schools which is essential to earning the trust of our students, families, staff and community.
I encourage you to contact your association president should you have any questions.
Dr. Dan Good