Gaston County Schools Employees Still Seeing Pay Gaps

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Oracle, one of the payroll system vendors, has been on site since October 10. They were to stay in the district for about 20 to 25 days.

GASTON COUNTY, NC — Friday was payday for Gaston County school employees and again some people found discrepancies in their checks.

WCNC Charlotte has been reporting for months that some employees are missing some or all of their paychecks.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Gaston County teachers rally over pay system issues

Gaston County Schools is piloting a new payroll system, due to a previously outdated system used in schools for decades.

At the last district school board meeting in mid-October, they anticipated payroll issues this month.

“It’s true, no pay is ever perfect,” said Gaston County Schools Superintendent Jeffrey Booker. “But you should be able to fix it in a few days.”

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The school district tried to communicate how far they’ve come with a presentation on ongoing issues and what they’ve been able to resolve.

“I just want people to know they’re heard and no one is running away,” Booker said.

According to the district’s own account, they have some way to go before all the issues are resolved.

“I can tell you that continuing to beat those trying to work on it gets us nowhere,” Booker said.

The district revealed that its biggest problem is that employees have excess deductions taken from their checks. Some were reimbursed in October, but many were not.

“Educators at all levels work two or three jobs to make ends meet,” said Pam Miller, president of the Gaston County Educators Association. “So going without a few $100 or more is not feasible.”

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In a presentation to board members, district leaders listed pension contributions, multiple voluntary deductions, longevity payments, and international teacher or PPE deductions wrongly taken.

Officials also listed ongoing problems with state pension contributions. In October, contributions could only be submitted to the state until June; 401Ks were posted until September and all other retirement plans were only posted until June.

There was also no longevity allowance paid to employees in July and August.

“I hate to think what would have happened if we hadn’t brought this to the public’s attention,” one employee said.

The district has promised on-site payroll assistance throughout October.

The district also has a customer service team for payroll issues.

“The team is there to try to facilitate and we’ve had success with individuals,” Booker said.

Gaston Schools said that in October more than 30 schools had been visited by the team and that all schools should be visited by the end of this month.

“Did Gaston County Schools just dive in and hope for the best out of every monthly pay or bi-weekly pay?” Valeria Schuler, another person affected by payroll issues, asked. “You should know who needs to be paid.”

Oracle, one of the payroll system vendors, has been on site since October 10. They were to stay in the district for about 20 to 25 days.

The concern of many employees at the end of the year is to have a correct W-2 form for the upcoming tax season.

Contact Shamarria Morrison at [email protected] and follow her on Facebook, Twitter and instagram.

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