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'Some of us live from paycheck to paycheck' | Gaston County teachers miss paychecks, say new system to blame

The school district told WCNC Charlotte it has had payroll issues due to a new payment system for the last eight months.

GASTON COUNTY, N.C. — On the first pay day of the 2022-2023 school year for Gaston County, many teachers went home with incorrect or missing paychecks. The district acknowledged to WCNC Charlotte that it has been facing payroll issues for the last eight months. 

“It is just very disheartening and insulting,” said elementary school teacher Sherry Willis. She said she has received late and incorrect paychecks several times this year. 

Middle school teacher Diane Gibson added that she spoke with some teachers Friday that were crying because they had not received the money yet. 

"And then we had some co-workers who got paid but deductions were wrong,” Gibson said. 

Gaston County Schools switched to a new payroll system in January and employees say it’s been causing problems ever since. Gibson added that it's not just teachers feeling the effects, but bus drivers, assistant principals, and all other school staff.

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"Some of us live from paycheck to paycheck, and we need that,” said Gibson. 

"When they are docking extra time off and not awarding you what you're supposed to have accrued, that's just very worrisome,” Willis said about the incorrect payments.  

They worry the payroll issue could drive more educators out the door while they're already facing a teacher shortage. Gibson said she believes the district is working hard to fix the problem but many employees are still missing money. 

A spokesperson for the district told WCNC Charlotte the district expected to face some payroll issues Friday with it being the first payday of the new year.

 "We know the continued issues with the payroll system are frustrating and concerning; however, we are working diligently to address the issues and correct mistakes,” said spokesperson Todd Hagans. 

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Gaston County’s change in payroll is part of a statewide pilot program approved by the state legislature in 2017. The new payment system is supposed to be adopted in every school district but it's unclear when that will happen.

Contact Julia Kauffman at jkauffman@wcnc.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

WCNC Charlotte is always asking "where's the money?" If you need help, reach out to WCNC Charlotte by emailing money@wcnc.com.

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