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News Update

SFUSD board approved $2.8 million in attempt to fix payroll system

A $14 million payroll system that failed to pay hundreds of teachers and staff at San Francisco Unified School District on time or not at all will cost at least another $2.8 million to fix, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Thursday.

The EMPower payroll system has been full of bugs and problems since it launched in January. SFUSD trustees voted Wednesday to spend more than $2.8 million to repair it.

Teachers and other workers have cited the payroll fiasco as a reason for leaving the district. In one case, a principal wrote a personal check for $4,500 to a teacher to help cover her rent until the district paid her for the month. Others have staged sit-ins at the district office to protest the problems, the Chronicle reported.

“Despite tireless work from our team, we haven’t been able to get out in front of the problem,” said Superintendent Matt Wayne, in a statement Wednesday morning. “We have to be able to pay people the right amount, on time. It’s time to take a different course and tackle this problem head-on with added expertise and capacity. We need to fully understand the technical issues causing mistakes, have a road map to fix them, and have the people power to make the changes and set us up for long-term success.”

A consultant hired by the district is expected to determine whether the EMPower system is a flawed product in terms of the district’s needs or whether it’s an internal issue related to using the technology.

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