For teachers transitioning from Shelby County Schools to one of the six new municipal districts in the county, just how and when they will receive their summer pay from Shelby County Schools has been debated.
Hundreds of Shelby County teachers tried unsuccessfully to prevent a reduction in their summer salaries due to larger than normal tax withholdings, according to the Commercial Appeal. Teachers in the Memphis-Shelby County Education Association filed a motion in federal court at the end of May requesting to be paid every two weeks for the remainder of their contracts. But a Tennessee law says teachers can’t draw salaries from two different districts at once, so teachers leaving the district had to receive all five of their summer paychecks before July 1, when their new contracts begin.
This large, five-in-one paycheck, scheduled to be paid out on June 5, makes it appear to the SCS payroll system as though these teachers were in a higher tax bracket than they normally were and cause a greater proportion of their salaries to be withheld. The teachers won’t be able to access those extra withholdings until they receive their tax returns in 2015.
The district said that these teachers could claim extra dependents on their final paycheck, which would push their tax bracket back down to its usual level.
“The example they gave, which I thought was ridiculous, was that we add 31 dependents,” said Sammy Jobe, spokesman for the teachers association, according to the Commercial Appeal.