What’s the good of overtime pay if I don’t get a check?

So today was our first “Buy Back Day.” To the uninitiated, a Buy Back day is an official, LAUSD-sanctioned overtime pay day. We all get together and have what amounts to school-wide team-building activities. IOW: Kill me, please.

Now, I am not one to complain about legitimate skill-building professional workshops. Forums on curriculum and lesson-planning, refresher courses on educational psychology, and all that I absolutely adore (…no, seriously).

These meetings feel more like those moments in movies when the bosses ask you, “Is this good for the company?” Yet another day when we teachers are told to raise test scores and keep a positive attitude, while at the same time being told insanely demoralizing tidbits from our superiors.

I can (normally) tolerate the motivational slogans and pump-me-up songs, which (if work-related, high jinks-laden comedies have taught me anything) I imagine take place in corporate America all the goddamn time.

But after a whole nine months of getting paid regularly, I thought I would share the fact that due to LAUSD’s completely stunning and cartoonish-jaw-drop-inducing ineptitude some teachers in LAUSD have still not received a paycheck SINCE JANUARY. I’ll let you mull that over for a bit.

I work with some teachers who have been complaining about their dwindling savings. I am single, with no kids. They are married with two or three kids. Some of them are now so broke, they can’t afford anything that isn’t food. According to this article from the Times, dated August 25 some teachers have resorted to taking out loans. Great. Teachers don’t get paid enough, are likely paying off student loans, and are now having to borrow more money just to maintain their privilege to teach.

LAUSD, on the other hand, says they need $37 million to fix the payroll system, which came with an already-astronomical $95 million price tag. I’ll let you mull that over for a bit.

There is a lot of media coverage (UTLA’s media coverage linkdump), and I guess this is the reason I have not written about this mess previously. But today, I just felt rather insulted. I’m sure that no admin, no Beaudry office slave has had their paycheck so fucked.

What good is overtime pay if I’m not guaranteed a check? Back in June, a judge threw out a lawsuit against LAUSD which would have ordered a Writ of Mandate for them to fix the payroll and pay their teachers. The judge said that “she expected the new school board to resolve the payroll problems immediately.” Oh.

There are two more Buy Back days scheduled this week. I think i can tolerate vapid team-building retreats. At least I’m getting paid for it.

7 Replies to “What’s the good of overtime pay if I don’t get a check?”

  1. Are you sure people haven’t been paid since January? That story you linked to said “she said she hasn’t received a correct and complete paycheck since January.”

    It sounds like, at least that person, has received SOME (though not the right amount of) money.

    Of course, you clearly know more about the situation than I do… were you referring to outside knowledge rather than that newspaper story?

  2. January 5th was the first paycheck received on the new system. Due to “glitches” some teachers have received no pay (AWFUL), some pay (BAD), the wrong pay (also BAD), or the correct pay (GOOD).

    I have received the correct pay (GOOD), but some teachers at my school site have received NO pay. Zip. Zilch. Some have received some pay or incorrect pay. I speak mostly from experience.

  3. List of vacancies, yah.
    http://www.aalausd.org/docs/2007-08-13.htm

    Another piece is paying bills, which has not been turned on yet. The thing about it is though, that when the school district pays bills, they don’t actually write the checks themselves, Los Angeles County prints the checks. Same thing with cash receipts, other treasury functions, etc. The data is translated, processed and transferred back and forth between 2 accounting systems.

    No matter what LAUSD does, they have to go through the county’s system. No matter what.

    BTS is a complete waste of both time and more importantly energy. Enough already, instead of, in essence, duplicating the county’s system, LAUSD should just use the county’s system directly.

  4. Past: No one has said anything in media about why the old had to be replaced. My assumption is that it was replaced so that a $95,000,000 contract could be awarded.

    As an employee of the LAUSD, I have experienced this very problem and the stunning awful scene one must experience in order to get the ball rolling on fixing one’s paycheck.

    LAUSD Payroll set up a large “paycheck-triage” taking over the entire lobby of the district building. Employees with payroll issues fill out forms and then wait in rows of chairs to be told hours later how long they will have to wait (in hours or days) for some or all of their missed pay. During all of this, an LAUSD payroll employee comes out and reads off the names of paychecks that have now been drafted as a result of navigating the “missing-money” process. As paychecks are received, the educators in rows of chairs applaud as though these paychecks were DIPLOMAS HANDED OUT AT A GRADUATION.

    Present: I don’t have my paycheck. I refuse to go downtown to revisit this scene.

    Future: I hope that three things happen:

    1) They revert to the old system or fix this one free of charge.

    2) The school district should be reimbursed all of the taxpayer money spent on this problem.

    3) In an effort to bring about accountability,
    a. Someone or several people should be fired so that they know what it feels like not to have a paycheck.
    b. Someone or several people should go to jail. They knew it didn’t work before they purchased it and it was done anyway. It resembles one of those defense department contracts for some weapon system that only kills the operator.

  5. Beaudry slave and teacher, here.
    “I’m sure that no admin, no Beaudry office slave has had their paycheck so fucked.” This is so typical of a teacher to automatically create this fiasco into an “us vs. them” situation. This is a payroll problem not a “lets screw them teachers” problem. We have a person in our group who was paid $4.26 for a month’s work, another person who was paid twice their monthly check, and another who didn’t receive a check at all.
    The fact is that when this new system was being developed no reputable payroll company wanted any part of it. Simply because it’s way too complicated and with too many diverse intricacies that are exclusive to the LAUSD. We have classified school staff, certificated school staff, classified non-school staff, certificated non-school staff, food services, transportation, contractors, maintenance, and tons of other departments all with their own payroll needs. But of course, the LAUSD hates teachers and is simply picking on them.
    The problem lies with the software but it’s not solely to blame. How many school payroll clerks have taken the time to learn the new system? How many people felt payroll problems previous to this system due to human error? How many payroll clerks were defiant and hostile towards BTS before it was ever launched? Things to think about.

  6. Why aren’t the supervisors of the employees reviewing the employee’s pay calculations before the checks are issued ? EVERY place I have ever worked there is a review and corrections are made BEFORE payday.

    Does BTS have a way to review and correct pay before payday ? Last, I heard, no.

    Everybody at LAUSD is in the same boat right ?

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