GASTON COUNTY, N.C. — The Gaston County Schools Superintendent apologized to staff members with incorrect or missing paychecks during a town hall meeting Monday night.
"I have great regrets that all this is done to different people," Jeffrey Booker, Gaston County Schools Superintendent said.
For months now some employees received incorrect or no paychecks due to a new payroll system. The payroll system, currently a pilot at Gaston County Schools, is a step to modernize the outdated system they previously had.
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"I want to make sure [everybody] remembers we had a system that was 30, some years old, and was going through its own issues," Booker said.
The town hall, hosted by the Gaston County North Carolina Association of Educators, is a part of a months-long campaign by state and local members to bring attention to the payroll issues.
“Have outstanding issues been corrected since the last payroll?" Diane Gibson, a Gaston County teacher and Gaston NCAE member, asked Booker.
“We are continuing to work on outstanding issues," Booker answered.
After a brief pause, Gibson replied, “OK, so that would be no.”
“It depends on what you know, again, Diane, specific issues," Booker said.
Gaston County Schools have previously outlined what the major issues are with the payroll system they've had since the second half of the 2021-22 school year.
“The Oracle system recognizes the individual's teacher and pays his teacher; however, they don't always recognize the other avenues of it," Booker said. "And that can cause an error, it can cause it to kick it out and not pay it at all."
CherryRoad Technologies and Oracle operate the payroll system. WCNC Charlotte has requested comment from both companies previously and they have not returned emails.
"In the first few months of implementation, we experienced a number of unexpected issues, which resulted in inaccurate pay for some of our employees," a Gaston County Schools spokesperson previously said. "Since that time, we have seen a drastic decrease in the number of issues, going from hundreds when we first transitioned to the Oracle system to a few dozen or so that our payroll specialists work on as they occur."
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Booker repeated these assurances of progress at the town hall but received pushback from Gaston NCAE members.
They wanted to know who is to blame.
“What I know is that at 2:30 in the morning, 4:30 in the morning on those calls, I see CherryRoad representatives, I see Gaston County Representatives," Booker said. "I may see state representatives all trying to work to try and get the files corrected."
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Booker wouldn’t point fingers but did not say the problem was coming from user error.
"Oracle has provided some remote assistance, but CherryRoad has brought additional people on site," Booker said. "They have fluctuated from week to week, the people who are in here, but they've allowed and troubleshoot address issues."
Booker said at the next school board meeting there are plans to discuss a retention bonus for staff members in light of the ongoing payroll issues.
Gaston County employees said they plan to continue to protest online and in front of schools until all issues are resolved.