Gaston County leaders discuss persistent teacher payroll problems

Gaston County leaders discussed persistent teacher payroll problems during a meeting Tuesday.

The talks come after a lawsuit was filed against the school board.

Officials said they are taking steps to resolve the issues, which comes after the system the county adopted last year caused some employees to miss being paid on time and now it’s creating problems with W-2s.

RELATED: Gaston County leaders discussed persistent teacher payroll problems Tuesday.

The payroll system has frustrated teachers and school staff members for almost a year and a half.

“I want to see it solved,” said Chad Brown, chair of the Gaston County Board of Commissioners.

Brown felt compelled to bring up the topic Tuesday noting some teachers who are fed up with the issues have left the county.

“The teachers are our most valuable resources we can’t afford them to go other places,” Brown said.

Commissioners and school board members agreed Tuesday to work in pairs on some of the issues.

Brown said switching payroll systems may have to be the solution.

“We are going to give you time to make it happen but if not, it’s time to step up and take responsibility and say we got to do something different,” Brown said.

The superintendent said it’s a concern for school officials too.

“Never ever have we said this was an acceptable event,” said Jeffrey Booker, superintendent with Gaston County Schools.

Booker said they have reduced the number of errors in the system from a couple thousand to a few hundred.

In April, they will launch a new system, which will allow an employee with a payroll complaint to track the progress of the investigation until it’s resolved.

The president of the local chapter of the North Carolina Association of Educators said that’s tracking the problem, not fixing it.

“You’ve had 15 months,” said Pam Miller, president of the Gaston County NCAE. “This is just taking way too long. You are messing with people’s livelihoods.”

The association sued to try to get the school system to take immediate action.

Miller said she had to have school officials print a new W-2 form because the original had the wrong information.

She worries that if school officials take too long to fix the problems, then teachers could lose benefits and miss pay because of a system that isn’t working.

Brown didn’t say how long he will wait before he asks the school board to make a change in payroll systems.


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