Bounced checks add insult to injury for Philly School District's laid-off employees

It was bad enough that scores of employees laid off by the Philadelphia public schools had to show up this week at district headquarters to collect their final payouts - several days late.

It was worse, for some, when their checks bounced.

"We came to payroll, and we were told we had to go back to our bank, get a copy of the check that bounced, and then bring it back to them, and they would issue another check," said one laid-off teacher who asked that his name not be used because he still hoped to be rehired. "I don't think it's right."

District spokesman Fernando Gallard said the problem was not caused by a lack of funds in district coffers.

Rather, he said, "there is something wrong with the checks themselves."

Gallard said 17 laid-off employees complained Friday that their checks had been rejected by their banks.

Bank scanners were having trouble reading some of the 460 checks the district issued manually to cover the "summer rollover pay" employees earned from working the previous 10 months.

Many employees, including teachers, work the 10-month school year but are paid over 12 months, their payroll year ending in August.

Officials are working with Wells Fargo, the district's bank, to figure out what caused the glitch.

"We are reissuing the checks and making sure that these checks have no problems," he said. "We're working as quickly as possible."

People laid off June 30 had been promised they would receive their summer pay in a lump sum no later than July 22. Some received their checks on time, but most collected their payments this week between Monday and Thursday at 440 N. Broad St.

Those employees were among the 2,700 laid off to help close a $629 million shortfall in the district's $2.7 billion budget.


Contact staff writer Martha Woodall at 215-854-2789 or martha.woodall@phillynews.com.