CHILTON COUNTY, Ala. (WIAT) — A lunchroom manager in Chilton County, Alabama, has been told she must repay over $23,000 after a payroll mistake caused her to be overpaid for about six years.

Christie Payne, a child nutrition manager at Verbena High School, recently received a letter from Chilton County Schools outlining the alleged overpayment.

“A review of financial records reveals that you were overpaid by the Chilton County Board of Education,” the letter said.

The letter, signed by Superintendent Jason Griffin, said that the overpayment totals $23,465.40 and began during the 2016-17 school year.

“The employee went from assistant manager to manager,” the letter said. “The employee should have started at step 0 of the manager schedule but was given years of experience as an assistant.”

Every month “this is not taken care of,” the letter said, $254 will be added to the total amount Payne owes.

(Courtesy of Christie Payne)

The letter outlines three options for repaying the money. Payne can pay $325.91 monthly for 72 months, $3,910.90 annually for the next six years, or pay in one lump sum.

The letter said that if Payne objects to the overpayment or wants to propose another repayment schedule, she must do so in seven days upon receipt of the letter, which was dated April 12 but was mailed to Payne’s home address.

Payne has not taken the request to repay the money lightly. She said she was shocked when she received the letter.

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

Payne has been in touch with representatives from the Alabama Education Association about the issue, according to district director Tracy LeSieur. AEA is working to gather more information and evaluate the situation, LeSieur said Friday morning.

Chilton County Schools Superintendent Griffin declined to answer questions about the issue Thursday evening.

“Due to employee privacy issues, Chilton County Schools will not be commenting on your inquiry,” Griffin said in an e-mail.

Christie Payne provided WIAT with the letter she received, which can be seen at the right.