Payroll system in Los Angeles district still flawed

July 1, 2010
Grand jury report says system is incomplete and inadequately monitored

From The Los Angeles Times: The payroll system in the Los Angeles Unified School District remains dangerously incomplete and inadequately monitored, a grand jury has concluded. The L.A. County Grand Jury annual report took aim at the malfunctioning payment system, which was launched in January 2007. For months, thousands were overpaid, underpaid or not paid at all. The grand jury investigation says the district's own technical staff has indicated that another debacle could be imminent because the new system, which handles more than payroll functions, was never fully installed.

FROM DECEMBER 2008: The Los Angeles Unified School District has settled a dispute with the contractor that installed its payroll system, which overpaid and underpaid tens of thousands of teachers and other employees by tens of millions of dollars. The district says the company it hired, Deloitte Consulting, agreed to pay $8.25 million and forgive $7 million to $10 million in unpaid invoices, for a total settlement that was roughly half the amount the district said it spent to fix the rogue system. In addition to those costs, the district sustained many millions of dollars in other losses related to the payroll problems. (Los Angeles Times)

FROM MARCH 2008: The Los Angeles Unified District is continuing to have difficulties with its payroll system. District officials insist that the problems are largely fixed, but many district employees say they are still having problems, including W-2 forms that don't match year-end pay statements and an unresponsive trouble-shooting team. The system launched in January 2007 as part of a $95 million technology upgrade, but has been riddled with glitches. (Los Angeles Times)

EARLIER: A review of documents and interviews with current and former officials about the yearlong payroll system crisis in the Los Angeles Unified School District has shed light on fundamental problems that plagued the district and prevented it from solving the fiasco faster. Dysfunctional management and internal power struggles allowed the project to go forward with no one fully in charge and hampered the district's ability to mount an effective response when serious problems arose. Years of shoddy record-keeping and strangely complex union contracts made answering basic questions almost impossible. (Los Angeles Times)

COMMENTARY: In the long catalog of contemporary America's bureaucratic debacles, the chronically dysfunctional Los Angeles Unified School District probably deserves a page of its own, and its appalling payroll screw-up surely belongs at the top of the entry. (Los Angeles Times)

From December 2007: Los Angeles Unified School District officials have pushed back a deadline to recoup most of the $53 million that is believed to have been overpaid to about 32,000 employees because of its faulty payroll system. In addition, teachers and other employees are flooding the district with requests for meetings to resolve payroll discrepancies. Since the new payroll project launched in January, technical glitches and human errors have wreaked havoc on the district, leaving tens of thousands of teachers and other employees with errors on their paychecks. (Los Angeles Times)

EARLIER: In the latest fallout from a badly flawed payroll system that has plagued the Los Angeles public school system for nearly a year, officials have taken steps to recoup $53 million they calculate has been overpaid to about 36,000 school district employees. Affected employees -- the vast majority are teachers -- have until Dec. 10 to choose whether to repay the district the entire amount they received, request a repayment plan, repay only the amount they believe they were overpaid or refuse to pay anything. (Los Angeles Times)

The Los Angeles Unified School District says that starting today, nearly all teachers and other employees finally will get paid the right amount. The reassurance comes after nearly a year of payroll problems, including over- and underpayments. Some teachers' paychecks have varied widely from month to month, without a coherent explanation of the calculations. (Los Angeles Times)

About 5,000 Los Angeles teachers and other employees are expected to receive inaccurate paychecks today, marking another month of persistent problems with a new computerized payroll system. Supt. David L. Brewer cautioned employees, who have so far been overpaid by $53 million, not to spend the money as the Los Angeles Unified School District prepares to recoup it. As in past months, the vast majority of the mistakes are overpayments; about 300 others are underpayments. The number of errors this month showed no decline from the last two paydays. (Los Angeles Times)

If the Los Angeles Unified School District can't figure out the math on employee paychecks, can it be trusted to teach more than 700,000 students? Eight months after switching to a new $95 million accounting and payroll system, the cost of trying to fix it and move on is expected to run an additional $50 million. Last week the school board approved a request by Supt. David L. Brewer to spend $10 million on yet another consultant. (Los Angeles Times)

Since launching a $95-million computer system six months ago, the Los Angeles Unified School District has been beset by programming glitches, hardware crashes and mistakes by hurriedly trained clerical staff. The result: tens of thousands of teachers, cafeteria workers, classroom aides and others have been underpaid, overpaid or not paid at all. The hardest hit have been the roughly 48,000 certificated employees--teachers and others who require a credential to perform their jobs. Their complicated, varied job assignments and pay scales have perplexed computer programmers and, this month, an additional 3,900 people received incorrect paychecks. (Los Angeles Times)

Widespread problems plaguing a new computer payroll system in the Los Angeles school district and a decision to delay the final phase of a massive technology overhaul have boosted its price tag by more than $46 million. The total cost of the controversial Business Tools for Schools project is expected to reach about $132 million, more than 35% higher than its expected price. (Los Angeles Times)

The Los Angeles Unified School District's new $95 million payroll system has been plagued by problems that have left has left hundreds of employees without their paychecks. Clerical errors and outdated employment data have led to about 1,000 teachers and other staffers either not being paid or being paid too little. Don Davis, chief of staff to Supt. David L. Brewer, was quick to acknowledge the problems but emphasized that in a district with about 100,000 employees, the number affected was relatively small. (Los Angeles Times)

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