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Gaston County employees hold rally, walk-in at Monday's Board of Education meeting

School employees have been protesting payroll issues since the county adopted a new payroll system in January.

GASTON COUNTY, N.C. — Gaston County school employees made their voices heard at the Gaston County Board of Education meeting on Monday.

In a post on social media, NCAE President Pam Miller called for students, parents and concerned citizens to participate in a rally and walk-in at the BOE meeting Monday evening. 

The rally began at 5 p.m., just outside the school district headquarters, with several educators joining together to demand a solution to these payroll problems, including a hardship bonus.

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Teachers told WCNC Charlotte's Julia Kauffman they wanted a clear timeline on when the payroll issues will be fixed.

This rally is a continued effort by Gaston County school employees to protest a new state-mandated payroll system that has left some staff members with missing paychecks and retirement funds. According to faculty members, the payroll problems began in January, when the new payroll system was adopted. 

The 6 p.m. Gaston County Board of Education meeting was streamed on YouTube. Multiple teachers signed up to speak at the board meeting.

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During the public forum, Miller urged the school board to give teachers a bonus from leftover ESSER funds for dealing with the issues. 

Board chair Jeff Ramsey said the pay issues have impacted everyone in the district in one way or another, and the issues need to be solved. 

The district's chief financial officer Gary Hoskins said the missing retirement funds are impacting every employee on the state retirement plan, adding they are working to fix the incorrect deductions taken out of contract teachers' paychecks. Employees will be retroactively paid. 

In an effort to address the issues, the district has hired a full-time Oracle coordinator, hired a consulting firm, and created a customer service center to be more responsive to complaints. 

Hoskins added that they are trying to fill vacancies in the payroll department to help tackle the pay issues.

While teachers were pleased with the district recognizing the severity of the problems, some said they were hoping for more answers from the meeting.

"There just didn’t seem to be a clear outline of how to fix the issue," teacher Sherry Willis said.

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