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Gaston County employees still waiting on all payroll issues to get fixed

Oracle, one of the providers of the payroll system, has been on site since Oct. 10. They were expected to be in the district for about 20-25 days.

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

WCNC Charlotte has reported for months now about some employees missing some or all of their paychecks.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Gaston County teachers rally over payroll system issues

Gaston County Schools is piloting a new payroll system, due to a previously outdated system used in the schools for decades.

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

“It is true, no payroll is ever perfect," Jeffrey Booker, Gaston County Superintendent of Schools, said. "But you should be able to fix it within a couple of days." 

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The school district tried to communicate how far they have come with a presentation on the ongoing issues and what they've been able to fix. 

"I just want folks to know they are being heard and no one is running from it,” Booker said.

By the district's own account, they have a ways to go before all issues are resolved.

“I can tell you, to continue to beat those who are trying to work on it doesn't get us anywhere," Booker said. 

The district revealed its biggest problem is employees having excess deductions taken from their checks. Some were refunded in October, but many weren’t.

“Educators at all levels are working two and three jobs to make ends meet," Pam Miller, Gaston County Educators Association president, said. "So doing without a few $100 or more is not feasible."

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In a presentation to board members, district leaders listed retirement contributions, multiple voluntary deductions, longevity payments, and International or EPI teacher deductions incorrectly being taken. 

Officials also listed ongoing issues with state retirement contributions. In October contributions were only able to be submitted to the state through June; 401Ks were posted through September and all other retirement plans were posted only through June.

There was also no longevity pay made to employees in July and August.

“I hate to think what would have happened had we not brought it to the public's attention," one employee said.

The district promised onsite payroll help through the month of October. 

The district also has a payroll issue customer service team. 

“What the team’s there for is to try and facilitate and we have had success with individuals," Booker said. 

Gaston Schools said in October more than 30 schools were visited by the team and all schools were scheduled to be visited by end of that month. 

"Did Gaston County schools just dive in and hope for the best each monthly payroll or bi-weekly payroll run?" Valeria Schuler, another person impacted by payroll issues, asked. "You should know who needs to be paid."

Oracle, one of the providers of the payroll system, has been on site since Oct. 10. They were expected to be in the district for about 20-25 days.

The worry for many employees as the year winds down is having a correct W-2 form for the upcoming tax season. 

Contact Shamarria Morrison at smorrison@wcnc.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.  

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