EDINBURG, Texas (ValleyCentral) — On Tuesday night, the Edinburg CISD School Board addressed recent payroll errors that left some district employees with too much money, too little or none at all, and those with too much money must reimburse the district.
The largest school district in Hidalgo County said the errors happened once in July and twice in August and said they never had a problem with payroll before.
“The file is not processed because it reached the maximum threshold for a transfer,” said Zelda Lopez, the director of payroll.
Lopez explained to the board that the school’s bank, Lone Star National Bank, has a maximum threshold for transfers, however, because there were more summer school programs this year than in previous years, there were more employees to be paid.
This accumulated a larger transfer request that passed the threshold maximum, but Lopez says there was no one available to authorize the transfer in time.
“They obtained authorization from staff at finance, but by that time it was already over the 4:30 p.m. deadline,” said Lopez.
The second time was in August where 1,762 employees were overpaid by thousands of dollars due to an error with the new payroll system, eFinancePlus payroll application by PowerSchool. Lopez said eight people were paid out their entire salary in one payment, with one person receiving $74,000.
“So, we gave everyone access the same as me so we could go in there and correct to reduce the double payments we saw in the pre-calculations or pre-test but we ran out of time,” said Lopez. “We had to submit it; does no one get paid? Or do we process what we know is the best that we can?”
523 employees have paid back the money to the district. The district has sent out letters to all the employees who were overpaid asking them to reimburse the district.
For a third time in August, there was trouble understanding the payroll system causing Lopez and staff to miss the deadline to submit payroll, leaving some without pay.
“It had to be restarted, the on-site assistant was assisting us, and it was over 4 p.m. before it posted,” said Lopez.
School board members also looked to Jesse Muniz who oversees the finance and operations department, and who is over Lopez, and advised to avoid these mistakes to reach out for help sooner.
Employees have expressed these mistakes frustrate them since many live on a paycheck-to-paycheck basis, according to the board members.
The President of the Edinburg American Federation of Teachers, Marsha Gonzalez, also echoed the same grievances for teachers.
“In August, like Zelda said employees fell into one of three categories either not paid, underpaid, or overpaid,” said Gonzalez.
ECISD has given employees until Wednesday, Sept. 8 as a deadline to repay the money that was overpaid to them, but expressed that their work hours make it hard to come into the administration office.
“Employees have expressed their frustration with the repayment process because most employees begin their day at 7:15 a.m. until 5:30 or 6:00 p.m. and this is probably why 500 or so employees have come to do the repayment process,” said Gonzalez.
Moving forward, Lopez said they will be preparing the payroll at least 2 days in advance to meet deadlines in case of any errors.
Sept. 10 is the deadline to turn in the September biweekly payroll, and Lopez said they are working around the clock to make sure the new wages and raises are input correctly for the September pay period.