APS: Change in pay schedule appears to leave staff a paycheck short for 2012. CFO explains why.

Updated at 2:11 p.m: Here is a very detailed response from APS board member Courtney English. Much thanks, Maureen

Hope all is well. Below is an explanation of the pay day change. We have received many questions on this issue and our CFO explains it as follows:

The change in pay dates does not cause an employee to lose an entire pay period. Historically, pay was received five days after the close of a pay period, with two exceptions. First, if the pay date (fifth day) was on a Saturday, Sunday or holiday, we moved the pay date forward to the work day preceding the scheduled pay date. Second, because the holiday work schedule for Winter Break abuts the scheduled pay date of January 5th, we moved the pay date for the December 16-31 pay period forward so it is distributed prior to the close of the calendar year.

With the transition in pay dates that began in August, we now are scheduled to receive our pay 15 days after the close of the pay period. As was the case before, if the pay date (now the 15th day) is a Saturday, Sunday, or holiday, we will move the pay date forward to the work day preceding the scheduled pay date.

However, since the district’s Winter Break work schedule no longer abuts the scheduled pay date for the December 16-31 pay period, we will no longer move that pay forward for distribution prior to the close of the calendar year.

An employee will be paid for the December 16-31 pay period as scheduled on January 15th. This change will have an impact on the calendar year 2012 W-2.

The amounts shown on a W-2 reflect the cash payments received by an employee during the calendar year. Historically, because we advanced the January 5th payroll to December because of the Winter Break work schedule, an employee’s W-2 reflected 24 pays.

For calendar year 2012, because we are not moving the January 15th pay forward to December, the 2012 W-2 will reflect only 23 pays. Calendar year 2013 will have 24 pays on the W-2, as will every calendar year in which an employee works a complete year.

For calendar year 2013, the 24 pays will reflect the last pay period of 2012 and the first 23 pay periods of 2013.  The calendar year 2014 W-2 will then reflect the 24th pay period of 2013 and the first 23 pay periods of 2014…and so on.

When an employee resigns or retires, their final W-2 will reflect one pay period more than the number worked in that calendar year.  Therefore, they never lose a pay. I hope this explanation has been helpful.

Back to original blog:

I am getting inundated with notes from APS teachers on a strange deal with their paychecks and have a sent a request to APS for clarification.

In the meantime, can anyone explain what sounds like a fishy deal? PAGE? GAE? Herb?

I listened to the APS video and understand what the district is doing, but it doesn’t seem fair to employees to put this change into effect now.

Some of the notes from APS folks:

I am an APS employee. I am hoping you might be able to post this to your blog to show more of APS’s foolishness.

Some background: Back in August, the Erroll Davis regime told us they would be adjusting the pay periods from the 5th and 20th of each month to the 15th and 30th. Not a big deal as far as I was concerned. Until recently when a coworker tipped me off to look at the pay stubs more closely.

To my surprise, the pay was coming up short. When we were paid on the 5th and 20th, we were paid for 10 working days each pay period. In August we were paid on the 6th and 22nd (12 work days instead of 10, but only paid the same amount as 10 work days). This pattern continued each month until now. So, between August and today, we have lost 10 days of pay.

This is an average of $2,600 for each teacher!

APS never mentioned this to us when they sent out the literature for pay day changes. BUT, they did acknowledge this in a YouTube video they sent to the staff last Friday  The explanation starts around minute 4. They state that this year’s W2 will only reflect 23 periods instead of 24 like all previous (and subsequent years).

When will they pay us for the 24th pay date that is owed to us? WHEN WE SEPARATE FROM THE SYSTEM!

Can they legally do this?

The APS legal department isn’t always known for their grand legal expertise. Teachers have already been hit so hard by this economy. Our pay has been frozen for 5 years, each year sees more furlough days, and now this without warning! Our salary is already almost $1,500 less because of 4 furlough days. We were NEVER prepared to take an additional $2,600 hit this year, for an average gross total of almost $4,100!

Maureen, please help APS teachers by presenting this information to your readers. APS, of course as always, stands by and justifies this decision.

And from another APS employee:

I have been teaching in the Atlanta Public School system for the past five years and recently learned the system would hold our last check of the year until we depart from the system.

Typically, we are paid three times in the month of the December but for some odd reason we will not get that last check this year.

In years past, we received 24 checks, but this year we will receive 23 checks. Many of us just found this out through word of mouth and a video on YouTube. How can they just hold our money without giving us any real explanation?

The system already screwed our pay dates we had for years without any solid explanation. Our pay dates have not been consistent for a very long time for some odd reason. I understand the pay dates suppose to be consistent in January but why they did not just do it in August instead of prolong the dates which in turn screws up our financial responsibility?

To make matters worse, we will not receive our usual December 20 check until December 28, which put many of us in an unaffordable place that will hurt our families because we will not have the funds to buy our children gifts.

Mr. Davis is in the one percent bracket and he does not truly understand the struggle teachers go through. APS recently adopted customer service standards for all employees. What a joke because if teachers are customers also why are they treating us like crap and not paying us our money. Look, if I made the money Mr. Davis and his cabinet made, I can assure you, I would not be wasting your time or my time. HELP!

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

48 comments Add your comment

What's Best for Kids???

December 19th, 2012
12:37 pm

Yikes! Sounds pretty fishy, yes.

Ga Tech Rules

December 19th, 2012
12:42 pm

I believe APS is committing a Federal crime in unilaterally with holding earned pay until retirement. I would contact the Federal Department of Labor, seek their support, and ask them to forward your complaint to the Department of Justice!

Another Math Teacher

December 19th, 2012
12:51 pm

From the video: “Employees will receive their twenty fourth payment when they separate from the district.”

Sounds like some people need to go to prison.

RCB

December 19th, 2012
12:52 pm

It just seems that if everything were on the up-and-up, on site or district meetings would have been held to notify employees of this. So now you have to rely on YouTube videos regarding your own paycheck????? It DOES sound fishy.

Beverly Fraud

December 19th, 2012
12:55 pm

PAGE? GAE? Herb?

Um Maureen, did you forget MACE? Wasn’t MACE the organization willing to tell the truth about APS under Beverly Hall while PAGE and GAE were singing her praises? Won’t they be, based on track record, the organization least likely to sugar coat the truth?

And is Herb, the same Herb whose organization named Beverly Hall Superintendent of the Year and still to this day refuses to rescind the award?

If you can’t even rescind an award to the person at the helm during THE largest scandal in United States educational history, do you really have any credibility?

Maureen Downey

December 19th, 2012
12:55 pm

@RCB, Video is a great tool to reach folks, but I found it odd that the info about this change was buried deep in the video. I would think that something of this consequence would be among the first items announced by the cheery host.
I also thought that the explanation fell short. That so many people are confused by what APS did tells me that it was not communicated well.
Maureen

Maureen Downey

December 19th, 2012
12:58 pm

@Beverly, I am assuming teacher groups have been hearing from members, which is why I asked PAGE and GAE. I also extend an invitation to Dr. Trotter to explain. Herb Garrett is one of the best sources on financial issues in the schools.
Maureen

Beverly Fraud

December 19th, 2012
1:02 pm

Well Maureen, the 12:55 post shows you are indeed around. Any reason to slight MACE, when they have been, amongst all the teacher organizations in Georgia, at the forefront of exposing wrong doing?

Seems like a fair and legitimate question; correct me if it isn’t.

Beverly Fraud

December 19th, 2012
1:12 pm

“I also extend an invitation to Dr. Trotter to explain.”

Now you do! LOL

“Herb Garrett is one of the best sources on financial issues in the schools.”

I will take you word on that; I just wonder about the moral compass of an organization that can’t seem to muster up the gumption to rescind a Superintendent of the Year Award for someone who turned out to be the educational equivalent of Milli Vanilli.

The Tour de France rescinded Lance Armstrong’s victories because of the evidence. Would you dare suggest the AJC’s evidence was not every bit as compelling in regard to Beverly Hall and the cheating scandal?

I personally thought the AJC did yeoman’s work in that regard.

are you surprised??

December 19th, 2012
1:19 pm

I have been asking this of payroll since June. I have been met with flip answers & statememts that are simply untrue. Davis & Co are just as crooked as Hall. He did this to hide $75 million for the district on top of the furloughs! They assumed that all Atlanta folks are too stupid to count.

Beverly Fraud

December 19th, 2012
1:22 pm

Sounds like it’s time for some Open Records requests AJC!

cricket

December 19th, 2012
1:27 pm

Just when you think public school systems have been as crooked as they could possibly be… BAM! They out-do themselves again. wow.

Beverly Fraud

December 19th, 2012
1:27 pm

Has the AJC asked for an official response from APS?

cricket

December 19th, 2012
1:35 pm

I have to believe there is a very special place really down deep in hell for school system administrators and their sycophants like that nauseating woman in the video.

Maureen Downey

December 19th, 2012
1:37 pm

@yes, Stephen J. Alford, Executive Director of Communications, is out of the office through Jan 2 so I directed my questions to Hafsa Alwi, per Alford’s auto response. And I called her. No response yet.
Maureen

Beverly Fraud

December 19th, 2012
1:40 pm

Time for some sunshine AJC. After all, it is the best disinfectant! This is a start. Some Open Records requests, plus asking for an official statement would be even better.

PAGE, GAE and MACE; join the sunshine party!

What's Best for Kids???

December 19th, 2012
1:40 pm

Milli Vanilli…snort.

It's All a Ruse

December 19th, 2012
1:42 pm

Maureen: I sent this information to you on one of your blogs last week. What does APS intend to do, if anything, about this?

Beverly Fraud

December 19th, 2012
1:42 pm

Well Maureen, credit where credit is due. At the risk of being redundant, duly due.

You’ve done your part. Time for the others to pick up the ball and run with it.

Another Mom

December 19th, 2012
1:43 pm

Maureen – Who authorized this? Was it the administration/Errol Davis? Did the board approve this as well?

What's Best for Kids???

December 19th, 2012
1:49 pm

I especially like how the nice lady says that their employees won’t be paid, but then goes into the segment about giving for the homeless kids.
Stay Classy, APS

Sandy Springs Parent

December 19th, 2012
1:58 pm

If you get paid for 10 days worth of work then you are bi-weekly employees. That is what Federal Employees on the General and Wage Grade Schedules are. They get paid every two weeks on floating Fridays, for 13 pay periods. You end up with 2 months with 3 pay checks.

People that get paid on the 15 and 30th are ussually Bi monthly and get paid twice a month, no matter what dates those days get paid upon. Which would result in 24 pay checks.

Disgruntled

December 19th, 2012
2:02 pm

Who knows if the Board approved it? None of the three members I emailed about this responded.

Beverly Fraud

December 19th, 2012
2:07 pm

But…but…but…doesn’t APS deserve the benefit of the doubt?

Maureen Downey

December 19th, 2012
2:14 pm

@To all:
Updated at 2:11 p.m: Here is a very detailed response from APS board member Courtney English. Much thanks, Maureen

Hope all is well. Below is an explanation of the pay day change. We have received many questions on this issue and our CFO explains it as follows:

The change in pay dates does not cause an employee to lose an entire pay period. Historically, pay was received five days after the close of a pay period, with two exceptions. First, if the pay date (fifth day) was on a Saturday, Sunday or holiday, we moved the pay date forward to the work day preceding the scheduled pay date. Second, because the holiday work schedule for Winter Break abuts the scheduled pay date of January 5th, we moved the pay date for the December 16-31 pay period forward so it is distributed prior to the close of the calendar year.

With the transition in pay dates that began in August, we now are scheduled to receive our pay 15 days after the close of the pay period. As was the case before, if the pay date (now the 15th day) is a Saturday, Sunday, or holiday, we will move the pay date forward to the work day preceding the scheduled pay date.

However, since the district’s Winter Break work schedule no longer abuts the scheduled pay date for the December 16-31 pay period, we will no longer move that pay forward for distribution prior to the close of the calendar year.

An employee will be paid for the December 16-31 pay period as scheduled on January 15th. This change will have an impact on the calendar year 2012 W-2.

The amounts shown on a W-2 reflect the cash payments received by an employee during the calendar year. Historically, because we advanced the January 5th payroll to December because of the Winter Break work schedule, an employee’s W-2 reflected 24 pays.

For calendar year 2012, because we are not moving the January 15th pay forward to December, the 2012 W-2 will reflect only 23 pays. Calendar year 2013 will have 24 pays on the W-2, as will every calendar year in which an employee works a complete year.

For calendar year 2013, the 24 pays will reflect the last pay period of 2012 and the first 23 pay periods of 2013. The calendar year 2014 W-2 will then reflect the 24th pay period of 2013 and the first 23 pay periods of 2014…and so on.

When an employee resigns or retires, their final W-2 will reflect one pay period more than the number worked in that calendar year. Therefore, they never lose a pay. I hope this explanation has been helpful.

Beverly Fraud

December 19th, 2012
2:21 pm

“When an employee resigns or retires, their final W-2 will reflect one pay period more than the number worked in that calendar year. Therefore, they never lose a pay. I hope this explanation has been helpful.”

Well see what a little sunshine does? Still the question remains, is this legal? Isn’t English admitting, in effect, that they are indeed taking a pay period away this year, and delaying it years, possibly even decades?

Any accountants here who can comment on the ethics of this?

And are school board members paid exactly the same way or not?

Disgruntled

December 19th, 2012
2:24 pm

Detailed, but still withholding pay, in my case, for 20 years. Accountants, HELP!

da bear

December 19th, 2012
2:32 pm

Its no different than any business paying two weeks in arrears. Its simply getting thier pay a few days later than usual. Many people who work in the public sector work for a pay period, get no pay, and then they get paid the next. When they leave, whenever, and for whatever reason, they have one last paycheck due them.

This is normal accounting to make a smaller payroll department have steady work, than a larger one having a frantic time turing pay records into paychecks in a short time then having little to do.

W-2 forms work much the same. You can have 30 days to prepare and print them, using a small staff, or you can make them available the first week in January, but you will need to pay a much larger staff overtime to get it all done in the smaller time frame.

If this change does, in fact, result in lower payroll department costs, it’s a good idea.

teacherwantingachange

December 19th, 2012
2:34 pm

And haven’t APS teachers noticed even less pay because of the change in the insurance premium?

Dekalb sent a disingenuous email telling us that the premium increase was out of their hands. However, they failed to acknowledge that they approved removing our insurance subsidy in August when they knew we would be facing less money in December.

I know that many businesses are hurting, but this Dekalb teacher is tired of school systems pretending to run like real businesses when making financial cuts that impact students and teachers but ignoring the gross waste in administration and recycled initiatives.

And given the declining property values in the metro area, I can’t understand why the public isn’t more outraged by cheating scandals in APS and missing money in Dekalb.

catlady

December 19th, 2012
3:15 pm

Did not know there was any school system that paid more often than once a month (on the last day.)

Is the public aware that teachers get paid 2 months BEHIND their earning? Start work the first week of August, get paid at the end of SEPTEMBER!

Huh?

December 19th, 2012
4:11 pm

just when you think you got it all figured out

RCB

December 19th, 2012
5:19 pm

I’ve read that explanation 4 times. Unless one or two of those paychecks are for more money (to account for changing cut-off dates), it still seems like they’re a paycheck short. That “short” seems to be carried forward until retirement or leaving the system. Where is the extra $$ being used and why was this done now? Terrible timing with so many families barely scraping by this holiday.

Atlanta Mom

December 19th, 2012
5:40 pm

It sounds to me, that in the past, teachers received their January check at the end of December, and that isn’t going to happen this year. Unfortunate, and surely should have been shouted out in August, but I don’t see any particular fraud involved.

Ga Tech Rules

December 19th, 2012
6:05 pm

APS is requiring the teachers to make an interest free loan to APS for as many years remain until the teacher retires. I believe crimes have been and are continuing to be committed, so I would really, really like to see a Nationally televised perp walk by an entire school system administration and the entire school board!! Please, oh please Mr. FBI girl, make it so…..The Federal Prosecutor involved could easily be elected governor in the next election!!

Pride and Joy

December 19th, 2012
6:36 pm

teacher wanting change — WE ARE OUTRAGED!

Point/Counterpoint

December 19th, 2012
7:01 pm

@Catlady…school systems pay new employees over 13 months now. Same pay, just divided by 13 instead of 12 so it lowers your monthly pay the first year. Nobody is losing any pay. School systems have an annual salary and split it over 12 months. For example, a teacher is hired after the first day of school and will only work 150 days.Their daily rate is calculated, multiplied by 150, then divided by 12 (or 24 in this case, but they must be the only system that pays that way!) Also when looking at your W-2, you typically have 6 months at one salary and 6 months at another salary (back when there were step increases) because the state fiscal year begins July 1.
They are telling the truth about your insurance. You will have to take that up with your legislators.

RJ

December 19th, 2012
7:01 pm

This is insane and I am hoping the truth will come to light. We are not told about the changes, yet many of us were beginning to figure it out. I am outraged that I am losing pay, along with furlough days. How much more are we expected to take?

Beverly Fraud

December 19th, 2012
7:03 pm

Maybe APS teachers can borrow Courtney’s credit card…and pay it back when they leave the system!

I know, I know, that’s a low blow, considering he was one of the members of The Furious Five.

bootney farnsworth

December 20th, 2012
8:36 am

just business as usual for APS.

It's All a Ruse

December 20th, 2012
9:07 am

Seems like Channel 2 is reporting it now!! Good work, Maureen!

Tracy

December 21st, 2012
6:22 am

The problem is that this was all done without any knowledge of the employees which appears to show that the system is hiding something. I welcome an investigation because at this point the system can’t be trusted. No one seems to care about the welfare of the kids which is inpacted by the state of mind of the teachers which is a direct result of their working environment….smh

Micheal Jackson

December 21st, 2012
6:46 pm

Tracy, I agree.

Micheal Jackson

December 21st, 2012
6:47 pm

We were better off with Dr. Beverly Hall because they would have at least paid us although the treated us like trash.

JD

December 22nd, 2012
7:26 am

I think that sometime back in the spring of this year, APS sent out a letter to employees announcing the new pay schedule. I don’t think it said anything about withholding two weeks’ pay from employees this year, and paying them the full amount only when they leave the system. The letter that APS sent to employees back in the spring (the letter announcing the new pay schedule) said nothing about withholding part of the employee’s 2012 compensation. If APS wants to have 23 pay periods in 2012 instead of 24, they should make the 23rd paycheck for double the usual amount. That way, employees receive the right amount of money in the right year, their W-2s and contract amounts match up, and APS gets the new payday schedule that it wants.

JD

December 22nd, 2012
7:47 am

Correction: Sounds like APS’ letter went out in August, not spring. My bad. Sorry.

Tired!

December 22nd, 2012
11:39 pm

Again, another example of why Davis’ contract should NOT have been extended. He started this ball rolling after Burbridge told him how he could save money, make interest off of the money from teachers. @JD – You are correct, APS communicated in written form, email, posters, etc. about the pay date change but there was nothing about the loss of a paycheck. The teachers were not presented with anything in writing until the media got hold of the story. In fact, principals receive multiple emails about having staff members complete an ethics course, ESOL course or customer service training, however nothing is presented about their pay. I agree, an open records request should be done. I guess APS employees are not worthy of support, thanks or money.

JD

December 26th, 2012
10:53 am

The number of current APS teachers & staff who post here is so small, I have no idea whether the majority of them support their superintendent & APS board members’ actions related to their pay, the North Atlanta High purge, the CRCT scandal, etc. I’d like to see a referendum/poll reflecting APS employees’ level of trust in their leaders. I’d also like to know how they would respond to these questions: “If a dear friend with teacher credentials were planning to move his/her family to the metro atlanta area, would you encourage that person to select a home within the APS system & enroll children here? Would you encourage that person to apply for a job with APS? Are you considering leaving your job with APS? If so, why? “

BROG

January 8th, 2013
3:06 pm

For those who want the information:

Mark Butler
Commissioner
GA Department of Labor
Sussex Place, Room 600
148 Andrew Young International Blvd., NE
Atlanta, GA 30303

(404) 232-7300
Fax: (404) 656-2683