Delaware State Auditor Kathy McGuiness released the findings of an overtime inspection and found paraprofessionals in the Christina School District were among the top school district and charter school overtime earners for fiscal 2016 2017, receiving a higher overtime rate than paraprofessionals who provide the same services in other school districts.
The study focused on school district overtime for fiscal 2016 and 2017, one of several inspections that McGuiness discovered upon assuming office that went unfinished.
“This inspection shows that school district paraprofessionals — who provide important and valued respite care services — have been paid different overtime rates for doing the same work,” said McGuiness. “It’s important that we share this type of information with the public so there is fairness and equity in overtime pay throughout the state.”
During the inspection, auditors discovered that a key factor contributing to the varying overtime rates is whether to consider the State of Delaware as a single employer under Federal Labor Law. According to Christina School District, under a legal opinion they received, they are able to operate as a separate employer which led to the disparities in overtime payments.
A significant amount of the school district overtime payments tested were made to Christina School District paraprofessionals who provide respite care services through the Delaware Autism Program. Respite care providers are trained employees who provide temporary care for autistic children, either in the child’s home or their own residence.
The top earning paraprofessionals identified in the inspection earned approximately $35 per hour for respite care services, while paraprofessionals outside the Christina School District were paid roughly $15 per hour to provide the same services. Additionally, the inspection found what appeared to be excessive amount of overtime hours logged by the same individuals within Christina School District.
A summary of the inspection can be found at bit.ly/2EQmgqy; the full report can be found at bit.ly/2TzNXxZ.