Spreadsheet blip adds $140,000 to Arizona school payroll

A story emanating from the accounts department of the Tucson Unified School District is on its way to the spreadsheet hall of shame after teachers were paid an extra $141,114.38 at the beginning of January, 2008.

According to a report in the Arizona Daily Star, the trouble started when the district agreed to back-dated pay raises and retroactive pay for teachers in December. Adjusted figures to cover the back-payments were calculated manually and entered into a spreadsheet, without specifying an end date.

When time came for the early January pay run, the boosted payments were repeated. A school principal queried the figures and as a result, teachers and officials had the excess deducted from their next paychecks. About 270 individuals were affected by the error.

A spokeswoman for the district said that the matter would be referred to its audit committee and that more controls would be put in place to prevent similar occurrences in the future. According to the Daily Star, the payroll mistake was one of a series of accounting errors at TUSD.

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