- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 28, 2015

July 28—Some Detroit Public Schools employees were upset to find out today that their paychecks were smaller than usual — or nonexistent.

It’s unclear what caused the glitch. Michelle Zdrodowski, a spokeswoman for the district, would only say there were “a variety of issues” with payroll for teachers and other employees. Officials hope to resolve the problem by Friday.

Detroit Federation of Teachers President Steve Conn said he believes at least 100 teachers have been impacted.

Some, like Martin Luther King Jr. Senior High School teacher Jamila Bell, gathered this morning at the district’s headquarters in the Fisher Building seeking answers.

“My gas and electric are about to be shut off any day, and I’m pregnant,” the mother of five said. “This is a huge issue for me.”

Conn said the pay period that just ended had been extended from two weeks to three, something the district does periodically to align its pay periods with the 365-day calendar year. Teachers were to be paid today, he said.

“We’ve got teachers who are owed for the 10-month school year,” he said, referring to people who have their pay spread out over 12 months. “We have money due for the extended school year. We have all sorts of special money in the way of workshops and bonuses, and none of it seems to (have been) paid.”

District officials were meeting today with union heads over the matter.

“A variety of issues arose with today’s payroll which effected a cross-section of DPS employees, teachers included,” Zdrodowski wrote in an e-mail. “We are meeting with the Coalition of Unions now and are working towards resolving any payroll issues as quickly as possible for their members.

“All corrective payroll actions are expected to be resolved by Friday.”

Zdrodowski did not respond to follow-up questions seeking more details about what happened and the total number of affected employees.

Bell said she was hired to teach summer school chemistry for $32.50 an hour. Her rate was later dropped to $15.75. Today, she said she was unexpectedly paid at an hourly rate of $12.39.

It’s unclear whether the pay issue is tied in any way to the district’s financial problems. The shortfall for the fiscal year that ended June 30 was $238 million — far steeper than the $166 million that DPS officials told the state they expected it to be just weeks earlier.

Contact staff writer Ann Zaniewski at 313-222-6594 or [email protected] Follow her on Twitter: @AnnZaniewski.

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(c)2015 the Detroit Free Press

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