CHILTON COUNTY, Ala. (WIAT) — Chilton County Schools’ superintendent and board of education have commented for the first time since revelations that the district is demanding that some employees repay thousands of dollars they were allegedly overpaid after years-long payroll mistakes.

In a joint statement published on the system’s website Tuesday, Superintendent Jason Griffin and the Chilton County Board of Education said that school officials are required to “recoup” any overpayments from employees.

“We cannot comment on specific personnel matters,” the joint statement from school system officials began. “The Chilton County Board of Education recently discovered several overpayments. These overpayments date back several years, and were initiated prior to the tenure of the current Finance Department, Superintendent, and Board. Under Board policy and the law, board officials are required to recoup any overpayments. We are mindful of the financial impact that this matter can have on our employees, and we are working to balance that impact with our obligation to recover the funds.”

CBS 42 has confirmed there are at least three employees who were sent letters, although there may be more. The three employees’ debt totals over $66,000.

Christie Payne, a lunchroom manager at Verbena High School, was told she owes $23,465.40, dating back to the 2016-2017 school year.

“I had no idea this was happening,” Payne said. “Now I have seven days to fix a six-year mistake made by the payroll department.”

A bus driver who’s worked for the system for over 20 years was told he owes over $10,000. He said for four days after he received the letter, he woke up at 1:00 in the morning, paced the floors, and cried. He said he doesn’t plan to respond to the system’s demands.

“It’s their mistake,” the bus driver said. “Why do the little people have to pay for it?”

A third employee of the system was told she owes $32,948, according to a representative of the Alabama Education Association.

If you have received a letter demanding a repayment from Chilton County Schools, you can reach out to CBS 42 at