Reshuffle offers hope on teacher pay system

TALIA SHADWELL
Last updated 12:00 24/01/2013

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A political reshuffle will bring hope and bear fresh scrutiny from school staff as term one approaches, says a Palmerston North school principal who spent his summer holidays grappling with Novopay issues.

Prime Minister John Key this week gave Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce the task of resolving the ongoing problems with Novopay, while Education Minister Hekia Parata will retain her role despite months of criticism over handling of the electronic payroll system's issues, among other problems.

Ross Intermediate School principal Wayne Codyre is among Palmerston North principals hoping a fresh pair of eyes will bring positive change in the new school year.

During what was meant to be the summer holidays, Mr Codyre was back at work after more than $6000 disappeared from a school account in a Novopay glitch.

He said this week's pay cycle had been mostly smooth sailing, but he was less than impressed at the amount of overtime he and staff had devoted to grappling with Novopay in the six months since the multimillion-dollar payroll system was rolled out last year.

"It has become a bit of a joke. We just expect it to have mistakes now," he said.

"Where is the recognition of that work?"

Most issues had affected support and relief staff, not permanent staff at the school, Mr Codyre said.

Ross Intermediate had been more fortunate than some smaller schools as it was able to cope with the temporary loss of the funds, but he questioned how much interest was being lost nationwide as schools and staff dealing with underpayments waited for their bank accounts to be replenished.

"We have very little confidence in the ministry to support schools. Obviously there's wonderful people in the ministry but from a public relations perspective, I don't think they've handled Novopay well at all," Mr Codyre said.

"I think schools are frustrated at [Novopay provider] Talent 2, and disappointed in the ministry."

He said principals would be interested to see how Steven Joyce, dubbed the Government's Mr Fix-it, would handle his new role overseeing Novopay and Talent 2.

Novopay group manager Rebecca Elvy said 60,000 school staff were paid yesterday and she was not aware of any unexpected or significant issues.

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- Manawatu Standard

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