Shawnee Mission coaches, event sponsors shorted compensation on last paycheck to get first supplemental pay Oct. 5

Rick Atha, Shawnee Mission’s assistant superintendent for operational support.

The group of Shawnee Mission teachers whose supplemental pay for work as coaches and event sponsors was left off their last check should see the money they are due next week, according to an email sent from the district’s central office.

Many district employees were left wondering what had happened when they received their checks on Sept. 20 — their first under the 2018-19 teachers contract. An error left hundreds of supplemental contracts unaccounted for in the payroll system, meaning that dozens and dozens of coaches, music instructors and event sponsors saw money left off their checks. In some cases, the checks were as much as 20 percent below what they should have been.

The administration acknowledged the issue at Monday’s board of education meeting, but affected teachers had not received communication about the problem until Tuesday afternoon, when an email from Assistant Superintendent for Operational Support Rick Atha went out to affected staff.

“I am writing to inform you of a problem that we uncovered which has impacted staff who receive a portion of their pay through a supplemental contract,” read the email. “According to our records, you are one of the individuals who has been impacted by this problem, so I want to let you know what happened and what we are doing to rectify it.”

Atha told affected staff that “We are working hard to fix this situation, so that you will receive your first check from your supplemental pay on Friday, October 5, 2018. You will receive another supplemental pay in your October 20, 2018 check, and subsequent checks through August, 2019.”

Chief Communications Officer David Smith said there were approximately 250 employees affected by the error.

“Almost all of them will be made whole via the October 5 payment,” Smith said. “A small number should have had their supplemental contract begin in August, and those employees will receive an October 5 payment, and the other missed payment will be spread out through their remaining checks this year.”

At Monday’s board meeting, National Education Association – Shawnee Mission President Linda Sieck and SM East band director Alex Toepfer expressed their concerns with the situation and lack of previous communication to staff. Toepfer told the board the issue had been “a blow to my finances, but also to my morale as a teacher.”

Superintendent Michael Fulton apologized to the affected staff and said the administration was committed to addressing the situation as quickly as it could.