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School district’s new payroll system comes up short

By Staff | Oct 1, 2009

The Lee County School District’s brand new payroll system is experiencing a computational error, and as a result, recent employee paychecks have been coming up short.
A complete overhaul of the district’s computer system was approved by the Lee County School Board for $32 million. The district first began an upgrade of its 30-year-old computer system in 2003 for $8 million, but the project became more costly over the years.
PeopleSoft was turned on this summer and a portion of the district’s payroll information was fed into the system. Additional employees have been gradually entered into the system since July.
Eight hundred transportation employees were recently shorted $265 in their benefits package, explained District spokesperson Joe Donzelli. He said that secondary checks had been issued to those employees on Wednesday to compensate for the error.
“A certain group of folks, their checks were identified before we handed them out today,” said Donzelli. “Anyone should be able to go to the bank and get it cashed.”
Donzelli said operational safeguards through Bank of America slowed the cashing of the second checks, but that issue has been resolved.
But, new reports from teachers claim that another error is causing them to lose money as well. Teacher paychecks have been short between $6 to $8 — one teacher had as much as $25 left out.
Donzelli said the district hasn’t heard about the second round of errors, but Mark Castellano, president of the Teacher’s Association of Lee County, verified that these amounts were missing.
“There were some computational errors made and they are working to rectify it,” said Castellano who said the errors are tied to the district’s conversion to PeopleSoft.
He said that payroll officials are working tirelessly to correct any glitches in the system, some staying as late as midnight every night. The union was also told that the system would be fixed sometime between November and January.
Furthermore, money withheld from employee paychecks will likely be repaid at the end of the school year. Castellano said TALC is working with the district to find a solution to this problem and to see if teachers can get their compensation before June.
Donzelli said PeopleSoft has been working well since July 1 and pointed out that the district was quick to resolve the payroll issue for the transportation workers.
“Everybody came back at the end of August and beginning of September, thankfully we caught it and are able to generate those checks to make up for problem with their main payroll check,” he said.