School workers get overtime pay (computer problem)greenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread
November 23, 1999
School workers get overdue pay
by Kevin Haney Daily News Staff Writer
Some 3,000 School District employees are collecting more than $1 million in overdue wages and bonuses this week, as the district tries to solve problems with its new computerized payroll system.
Acting Managing Director Thomas McGlinchy said district staffers spent the weekend updating and cleaning up data in the new computers, to get money to the workers.
Some of the money has been due since September, shortly after the district brought its new computer system on line for paying workers, suppliers and contractors.
Glitches and management breakdowns left hundreds of workers unpaid or underpaid.
That led two unions for teachers, building workers and bus drivers to sue the district.
Common Pleas Judge Pamela Pryor Dembe is monitoring the district's efforts to pay its employees.
McGlinchy said yesterday that the district was still calculating pay owed to more than 200 workers who retired over the summer.
District officials said they also had paid overdue invoices for 22 suppliers and contractors who had cut off the district since September.
They said they're talking with two building-material suppliers who had cut off the district in recent weeks.
The district was still catching up on $16 million in bills left unpaid when the district switched computer programs, officials said.
The district has paid some $178 million since Sept. 2
-- Homer Beanfang (Bats@inbellfry.com), November 23, 1999
3 months and counting
-- sure it's in the mail (trust firstname.lastname@example.org), November 23, 1999.
...for a job well done, they want a pay raise...
School pay-raise plan delayed
Superintendent Hornbeck will let the next school board decide about salary increases for top administrators.
By Susan Snyder INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Superintendent David Hornbeck yesterday withdrew his proposal to raise the pay of top administrators and other nonunionized personnel by 3 percent after school board members indicated that they would not support it.
After a private board discussion, President Floyd Alston announced that the board had decided not to award the pay increases, citing financial concerns and the imminent change in the composition of the school board.
"The timing was not right for us to make that decision," he said.
The decision, he said, should be left to the newly restructured board, which is expected to be in place next month. Alston is one of at least three members leaving the board this month. Up to five members of the nine-member board could change, depending upon appointments to be made by Mayor Rendell.
Alston also noted that the district faced a deficit in excess of $50 million.
He said the existing board would recommend to the new board that it consider the overall compensation policy for nonunionized employees instead of making an isolated decision on one pay increase.
The matter should be dealt with "quickly and decisively" following the reorganization of the board, Alston said.
Under Hornbeck's proposal, the raises would have gone to 519 employees ranging from confidential secretaries and clerks to Hornbeck's approximate 45-member cabinet, which includes leaders of the district's 22 clusters. Salaries range from as little as $15,000 to about $120,000, earned by the managing director. Hornbeck, who earns $167,000, was not included.
Hornbeck, who pointed out that the raises would coincide with increases given to union workers, said that he was satisfied that the board recognized the urgency of the matter and that he was pleased the overall compensation system would be reviewed. To not give raises to nonunionized personnel could cause some employees to join unions and others to seek employment elsewhere, he said.
He noted that some cluster leaders earn less than the principals they supervise.
Hornbeck said he had decided to ask the current board to approve the increases because he figured the members were most familiar with the records of employees.
Some board members had said last week that they had concerns about the timing and handling of the raises and the district's ability to afford them.
Hornbeck's pay proposal followed computer-related payroll problems that last week landed the district before a Common Pleas Court judge after district unions filed complaints. It also came as Mayor-elect John F. Street prepared for the delicate task of trying to persuade Harrisburg to free up more funds for city schools.
Mayor Rendell's office opposed the raises.
The raises would have been retroactive to Sept. 1, to coincide with the 3 percent pay increases awarded to principals and other employees in the district's Commonwealth Association of School Administrators.
Giving raises similar to union staff has been common practice, district officials said. The principals' union and Hornbeck's cabinet received their last raise, a 4 percent increase, in January.
Also at yesterday's meeting, board members voted down a proposal from member Jacques Lurie to require members of Hornbeck's cabinet to spend five full days per school year in a regular district school or a charter school. At least one of the five days would have been spent teaching in a classroom for the equivalent of two high school periods, with the remainder of the day spent following a student through the schedule.
"For most members of the cabinet, to do five days would mean to reduce the amount of time we [already] spend in schools," Hornbeck said.
Voting against the measure were Alston and board members Christine James-Brown, Pedro Ramos, and Dorothy Sumners Rush. Lurie was joined by members Andrew Farnese and Thomas Mills in support of the resolution.
Also at the meeting:
Administrators reported progress on the computer-related payroll and vendor payment problems. They have resolved payment issues with all but two of the more than 40 vendors that had cut off supplies to the district, they said.
The board held a farewell celebration for Alston and Mills. Mills has served on the board for nearly 14 years, Alston for about 10 years.
In interviews after the meeting, Mills said the district would be better off without Hornbeck. Alston reiterated his support, adding that the superintendent must work on his political skills.
Hornbeck said the district continued to negotiate with Community Education Partners, a private, for-profit business that runs alternative schools in Texas, to open and run a school in Philadelphia beginning in September.
The school would serve between 1,500 and 1,800 middle and high school students who have been through the court system or are both disruptive and falling behind in their studies. The district has identified about 5,000 students who would qualify.
-- Homer Beanfang (Bats@inbellfry.com), November 23, 1999.