For some, tough to get a paycheck from Philly SD

Some folks have had a hard time getting paychecks from the Philadelphia School District lately.

More than 2,700 district employees were laid off June 30 to close a $629 million budget gap, and many were 10-month employees who are paid over 12 months.  They were promised “summer rollover pay,” a lump sum due no later than Friday.

But on deadline day, some people still had no checks, and lines stretched out the payroll office, with a district security guard managing the crowd, which also included retirees who were shorted money.

Spokeswoman Shana Kemp said that in the course of processing final checks, “a number were missed.  The district’s payroll office has already processed the majority of those payments, and all checks will be available for pickup at 440 N. Broad Street on Monday, July 25, 2011 after 3 pm.”

Some laid-off employees were able to pick up their final checks on Friday.

Kemp declined to answer questions about whether the delay in processing checks was due to a severely-reduced staff at district headquarters.  Half of all central office positions were lost in the budget crisis.

Another group missing money are some baseball umpires who work Philadelphia School District ballgames.

Andy Miller called balls and strikes at Public League games in March, April, May and June.  He was paid for the March games but none of the others.

When he called to ask where his check was, “I heard every excuse under the sun,” said Miller, who worked as a teacher and baseball coach in the district for more than three decades before retiring last year.

Ultimately, he was told that because of a switch in the system for processing checks, the pay of several umpires would be delayed another few months.
Miller was not happy.

“Everybody who works there gets paid every other week,” he said.  “We invested our time and energy when they needed us in March, April and May and we’re now being told to wait until September?”

Miller said he’s due about $1,000. He and other umpires are paid $65 for regular season games and $70 for playoff contests.

“Does it change my life to not have the $1,000? No. Does it irk me that I have to ask for that? Yes.”

Kemp, the spokeswoman, confirmed that the hold-up was due to a transition in one payment system to another, “which included the need to go back and audit this year’s payments.  This has caused a significant slowdown in spring payments, but they will go out as soon as possible.”