Gaston County Schools educators prepare for town hall to discuss payroll with state leaders, school administrators

More than 200 educators are signed up for Tuesday’s town hall meeting
Gaston County Schools educators are banding together as their fight for correct paychecks continues.
Published: Sep. 12, 2022 at 6:26 PM EDT

BELMONT, N.C. (WBTV) - Gaston County Schools educators are banding together as their fight for correct paychecks continues.

The Gaston County North Carolina Association of Educators (NCAE) is preparing for a virtual town hall at 6 p.m. on Tuesday.

Teachers, custodians, retirees, and other employees invited district administrators, state senators, representatives, the state Treasurer Dale Folwell, and the GCS Superintendent.

“Our goal is for our decision-makers to truly hear our concerns and demands for change in the current payroll system. We can no longer continue with the constant stress of not being paid at all, not being paid fully, or having double deductions of benefits from our pay,” said Gaston NCAE President Pam Miller.

Bobbie Cavnar has taught in the district since 2003 and said he has never seen complications like this.

“I’ve had one correct paycheck in the last eight months,” Cavnar said.

Payday is quickly approaching and Cavnar is praying for a normal paycheck after months of abnormalities that he and hundreds of employees have faced.

“You just never know whether this is going to be the month that you don’t get paid or something is wrong with your paycheck,” he said.

Employees tell WBTV that over the last several months they either didn’t get a check for some months, had extra deductions, their retirement credits weren’t updated in the system, or their summer pay is missing.

WBTV first reported on the payroll transition in February as the district transitioned to the Oracle system with the help of online support vendor CherryRoad Technologies.

The district sent a message to employees last Thursday saying it is working to correct issues with longevity pay, individual payroll issues, overpayments, and deductions for open enrollment benefits.

Previous Coverage: ‘What is the road out?’ Gaston County Schools employees still experiencing payroll issues; state treasurer communicating with district staff

This issue has also captured the attention of the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction which says it provided the school district with funding and training after it launched the new program and it is continuing to work with the support staff at the company Oracle for any service requests from the school district.

NCDPI sent the district $494,200 for March and April 2022 as a non-recurring payment and $237,920 for May and June 2022 as an additional non-recurring payment.

On Tuesday, WBTV education reporter Courtney Cole called the technical support company Cherry Road Technologies and the payroll system Oracle.

Cole also sent emails to both companies and the district requesting a timeline, action plan, and identification of the problem.

Last Tuesday, more than 200 employees held a town hall sharing their concerns and planning demonstrations.

By Thursday, September 8, an unsigned email from the district was sent to all employees identifying current issues and an updated timeline for uploading the May through August retirement files.

“We at least got an email that for the first time admitting there were thousands of issues in our paychecks,” he said.

On Friday, dozens of employees at nearly two dozen schools held walk-in demonstrations to bring attention to the ongoing issues.

Previous Coverage: Dozens of Gaston Co. Schools employees hold demonstrations Friday demanding a resolution to payroll issues

Cavnar hopes Tuesday’s town hall meeting provides accountability, consistent communication, and solutions.

“What we’re looking for though is someone to communicate the plan to move forward to get us out of this and make whole those employees who have been hurt by it.”

This is a developing story.