Computer glitch cuts Manatee school employees' checks

rdymond@bradenton.comMay 14, 2013 

MANATEE -- Manatee County School district officials blame a computer glitch for 734 district employees being shorted on their May 10 direct deposit payroll checks.

In each case, employees electronically received their base pay but no supplemental pay from extra work such as tutoring, coaching and other compensated activity, according to a school district statement.

School district payroll staff discovered the problem during a spot check May 10. Once the error was discovered the staff calculated the direct deposit shortage and immediately mailed paper checks to cover the missing supplemental pay.

More than 700 checks were mailed Friday and more will go out before the close of business Tuesday, accord

ing to the statement.

For a financially strapped school district, the postage, paper and staff time to print checks added an unexpected albeit minor expense.

It cost the district $315 just for postage without calculating labor costs.

The Manatee Education Association, the teacher's union for Manatee County, did not receive any complaints from teachers, said union President Pat Barber.

"Believe me, if teachers had not been paid, I would have been getting calls," Barber said.

Barber said no calls received doesn't mean it wasn't a problem.

"I think it is hard for people when they are supposed to have a direct deposit and it doesn't happen," Barber said. "So, this is a problem. It does disrupt people's lives when things happen that are not supposed to happen. I think if one person is negatively impacted it's a problem."

Barber said supplemental pay is for extra duties teachers take on.

School board member Dave Miner said he planned to bring the matter up at Monday's school board meeting.

"We have asked our employees to sacrifice so much and they do so much," Miner said. "It's really a tragedy if we delay these payments. Checks can bounce because people depend on the money being there."

Miner said he intends on finding out why the glitch happened and how to prevent it from happening in the future.

Employees affected by the payroll glitch included 10-month instructional, 10-and-a-half month clerical, 11-month Manatee Technical Institute staff, salaried/administrative/managerial/professional and 11-month student service district employees paid on the "pay over the summer" process, according to the statement.

Miner said if the computer that issued the checks is outmoded, it may be necessary to replace it sooner than later.

"We need to find out how much it would be to replace and put it in the top shelf of priorities," Miner said.

"It would be a top priority in my mind."

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