Some teachers in Santa Ana went to work but did not receive a paycheck – Orange County Register
The new teachers in Santa Ana welcomed the students to the school more than a month ago, but over 100 of them have yet to be paid.
According to Barbara Pearson, president of the Santa Ana Educators’ Association, at least 111 new teachers were not compensated on time and said they would have to wait until the end of September for a paycheck.
“You cannot not pay the people who have rendered service to the district,” said Pearson, adding that the number of unpaid teachers is probably much higher.
District officials blamed the paycheck’s fault on delays in processing new staff, partly because the district experienced a hiring spree that added many new staff, and partly because human resources they themselves have fewer workers to deal with new employees.
“We’re hiring more staff, but we’re also running out of people hiring staff. It’s a domino effect, ”said district spokesperson Fermin Leal.
“The district assures that these employees will be paid for all the days worked,” officials said in a statement Friday.
So far, the district has issued the teachers, who are paid monthly, checks for $ 2,500, Pearson said. Some classified employees, such as teaching aids and clerks, are also waiting for additional allowances, for which overtime or new job classifications have not yet been processed.
On August 16, the Unified Campuses of Santa Ana reopened after 17 months of online learning. With the new COVID-19 relief money, the district is reducing student-to-teacher ratios and hiring new teachers, along with other staff. In total, the district hired more than 350 teachers, counselors, social workers and other staff.
But the district human resources department did not have enough staff to process all the new hires in a short period of time. The department itself has seen some people retire and others temporarily quarantined due to COVID-19, according to Leal.
Teachers in the district were to receive their first monthly salary on August 31. It was around this time that the phone started ringing at the Association of Educators of Santa Ana.
“All day, everyday, for a week, we kept getting more calls and emails and we kept adding to the list,” Pearson said.
At first, district officials told the union that new teachers should wait until September 30, the date of the next paycheck, according to Pearson.
Leal, the district spokesperson, said under the contract, anyone hired after the 9th of the month may have to wait for the next pay cycle. But Pearson said all affected employees so far arrived on board by August 9 and should have received their pay checks on August 31.
The union filed a grievance on August 31 and subsequently filed a class action grievance on behalf of all those who have not yet been paid or those who have not yet been compensated.
The issue came to light on Tuesday night when a Carr Intermediate teacher, Shayna Lathus, called a school board meeting to say that new teachers in the district had not yet been paid.
“How the hell is that acceptable in any way?” ” she said.
School board member John Palacio said on Friday that until that call he was unaware of the issue.
“District management has a responsibility to inform the school board when employees are not being paid, why they are not and how they are going to immediately resolve the problem,” said Palacio.
“It is illegal not to pay your employees,” he said.
The new teacher hires follow buyouts offered by the district last year, which resulted in the retirement of 294 employees – including 156 teachers – on July 1, according to Palacio. He criticized administrators for not moving earlier to fill vacancies.
Another group – newly promoted classified employees and classified employees who have worked overtime – are also facing payment issues. Many have yet to see their overtime pay because their new positions, or overtime, have not been processed by the district human resources department, said Aaron Latham, spokesperson for the California School Employees Association. .
At Tuesday’s board meeting, Palacio said the district is taking up to three months to pay for overtime, instead of when it’s due.
Latham said the local union representing classified employees was working with Superintendent Jerry Almendarez to resolve the backlog.
“We appreciate that the district superintendent is working hard to resolve this issue and has asked the Orange County Department of Education for help,” Latham said Friday.