Austin ISD getting a better handle on payroll problems

FILE - Austin ISD (KXAN File Photo)
FILE - Austin ISD (KXAN File Photo)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Austin Independent School District says payroll problems with a new $7 million system are improving.

Since the summer, several employees have been telling KXAN they were not getting paid correctly. AISD Chief Financial Officer Nicole Conley says in the last two months the district has retrained time keepers and IT staff, provided more online and live training and set up a help hotline

From July to November of last year, the help hotline received 6,870 calls. The majority of calls under “authentication” were from employees asking for help with a password, or having trouble signing into the new BOLT system. Specific questions regarding pay fall under the “pay amount” and “supplemental” categories, which total 161 calls.

In November, an AISD employee told KXAN she was missing a week’s worth of pay, which caused her family to lose a car and get evicted from their home. “My spirit’s broken, [I’m] mad at the school district,” she said. “Why didn’t they test this first? It should’ve been tested.”

Conley says there were mistakes with the employees paycheck, but the total was not as drastic as the employee first thought. “When we went back to check our records we couldn’t find — I didn’t find anything that would indicate that,” said Conley.

AISD says several of the employee’s paychecks were short $15 to $85 due to the wrong hourly rate, and on one occasion she didn’t clock back in after lunch.

According to the district, the total amount missing over a seventh month time period was $181.61 which has now been paid. The employee was not available for another interview, but tells KXAN there have been no more issues with her pay.

Conley admits staff members were not set up for success when the district changed to the new system over the summer in July. “We launched fairly quickly and in an aggressive timeline,” said Conley. “I would say that we probably were short-sighted in the level of training that needed to be provided across the district.”

KXAN has been asking the district for months: how many paycheck errors have been discovered? “We were literally processing those changes on the fly and we weren’t necessarily tracking them,” said Conley.

She estimates fewer than 240 employees have been impacted out of 12,000 total.

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