MEXICO CITY — Mexico’s education secretary says an audit of the nation’s teaching payroll found more than 44,000 teachers who were getting paid, but not in the classroom.

Aurelio Nuno says that more than 17,000 of those teachers were allegedly diverted into union work and still receiving pay without teaching. Nearly 15,000 teachers were in administrative positions, but now have been sent back into the classroom.

Nuno’s announcement Tuesday to a gathering of the country’s governors came one year after protesting teachers strangled the economy in some states. The teachers demonstrated against education reforms, among them required competency tests.

The audit also found that more than 1,300 teachers who had been fired were still being paid.

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