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Oklahoma Asks Teachers To Return Up To $50,000 In Bonuses That Were ‘Paid In Error’

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The Oklahoma State Department of Education mistakenly awarded bonuses to teachers, demanding repayment and causing controversy.

Kristina Stadelman, a special education teacher, received a $29,000 bonus but was told to return it due to previous employment.

Lawmakers are criticizing the department’s oversight and the program’s implementation.

“I don’t obviously have the money to pay it back by the end of February,” Stadelman said. “I came home the day I found out and just cried for two days straight.”

State Superintendent Ryan Walters faced scrutiny for alleged misspending and controversial expenses, adding to the department’s challenges.

“The press has jumped the gun on their reporting, excluding vital details on the contracts and our auditing system,” Walters wrote.

“The fact of the matter is that over 500 teachers were recruited to Oklahoma classrooms through this program.”

“As a former teacher, I cannot imagine the anxiety something like this would induce — to be deemed eligible and to receive a large bonus in my bank account, only to be told months later I must return it,” Rep. Rhonda Baker said.

“It was up to the State Department of Education to provide proper oversight in the vetting and approval of the bonus recipients.”

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