Broward schools plan to end a practice that has allowed high-level administrators to increase their pay by adding an extra two and a half extra hours to their workweek.

While most administrators are paid based on a 37.5 hour workweek, Human Resources Director Craig Nichols said at a School Board workshop Tuesday that 15 high-level administrators were being paid based on 40 hours. Those extra hours allow an employee to be paid nearly 7 percent more than they otherwise would. The district has yet to release the names of those employees.

The practice, identified by the South Florida Sun Sentinel, resulted in Procurement Director Mary Coker receiving after her daily hours were changed from 7.5 to eight hours, bringing her weekly hours up to 40. Her salary increased to $161,358, which was $8,000 above the maximum allowed for the position. After being questioned by the Sun Sentinel, district officials determined that was a violation of policy, and Superintendent Robert Runcie lowered her pay.

Another 15 high-level administrators have also been paid based on 40 hours a week, instead of 37.5. But the district is now going to require all administrators to be paid based on the shorter workweek, Runcie said. It’s unclear whether that will affect their pay, as their salaries currently fall within the allowable range for the district, officials said.

“We shouldn’t even consider whether they are 7 ½ or 8-hour employees,” Runcie said. “At these senior levels, the expectation is you work and you do whatever it takes to get the job done.”

The district initially justified the raises by saying Coker and other administrators supervise employees who are required by union contracts to be paid based on a 40-hour week.

Nichols said the human resources department didn’t know that Coker’s hours had been increased. The move was approved by Maurice Woods, chief strategy and operations officers, in January.

"How can HR not be involved?” Board member Patti Good asked. “That means we don‘t have mechanisms to stop it from happening again."

District officials said they are using a new enhanced payroll system that should be able to flag issues such as these in the future.

Several board members said they were annoyed to learn about the practice through the Sun Sentinel. Laurie Rich Levinson said past audits have shown issues with overtime and over-payments to some employees.

“This should have been identified a few years ago,” Levinson said. “I’m expecting a thorough review of our checks and balances so these things don’t keep coming up.”

The Sun Sentinel identified 11 administrators who received raises of 7 percent to 21 percent, well above the 2.2 percent increase given to most employees. A 12th administrator received a

Runcie said that most administrator pay increases identified by the Sun Sentinel were justified. He said the School Board approved a policy in 2017 that allowed employee salaries to be reviewed for pay equity. If they are paid below comparable positions in the market, they were eligible for a larger than normal pay increase.

, or Twitter