ECISD: Majority of $6.2 million in overpayments returned, over $400k still missing

Edinburg CISD Chief Financial Officer Consultant Jesse Muniz talking about payroll overage collections at the Edinburg board's Sept. 27 meeting. (Screenshot from meeting stream)

Edinburg school district administrators reported at a board meeting Tuesday that the majority of the $6.1 million in over payments made during a payroll snafu earlier this month have been collected by the district.

Jesse Muniz, chief financial officer consultant for the district, told the board Tuesday that 1,719 employees received overpayments totalling $6,208,085.62.

As of Friday he said employees had returned about 91% of that sum, $5,635,454.50.

That percentage had gone up to 93.3% by Monday, Muniz said, leaving 163 employees left to return a little more than $400,000.

Those overpayments, which occurred Aug. 24, were part of a string of payroll mishaps the district had when it changed to a new payroll system.

Subsequent payrolls in September have gone smoothly, Muniz said.

“So we’re getting to learn the system a little better. It’s just, it’s a new system, still got some learning to do, lot of new tricks, lot of new glitches,” he said.

Collections have primarily been paid in cash, cashiers checks and personal checks, Muniz said.

Some trustees asked for calculations of how much interest the district lost on that money, and criticized the length of time it’s taken to return the funds.

“Is there a reason why we’re 163 [employees] short? In two months we couldn’t get them all in?” Trustee Oscar Salinas asked.

Superintendent Mario Salinas said the reason the district hasn’t collected all of the overages yet is because September is a complicated payroll month and he directed staff to prioritize it going smoothly.

“And I want to congratulate the payroll department for working seven days a week for the last three weeks, had 12 to 16 hour days,” he said. “Congratulations, you all did very well, on my behalf on the board.”

The majority outstanding overages are small amounts, Salinas said, adding that many of the employees who hadn’t repaid the district yet are coaches.

“Probably these guys don’t have time to come to central office,” he said. “So come Friday we’ll get this list and we’ll go to the campus and sit down with them and come up with a plan for reimbursement.”

Salinas said the district plans to have accounts from the payroll reconciled before Christmas.

Ultimately, employees are required by law to repay the overages and the district has the option to take those overages out of subsequent paychecks.

Board President Mike Farias said that when the dust settles and accounts are rectified, he’d like to see a report detailing who repaid overages, how they repaid it and paperwork trailing that money’s return to the district’s coffers.

“I want to make sure that all the money is accounted for and all the money is deposited back into our account, because we’re talking $6.2 million,” he said. “And you know, you could go ahead and be off 1%, and that’s $600,000 (sic). And we need to make sure that none of that happens.”

One percent of the overages is actually about $62,000.

Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to accurately reflect the true value of 1%.