Novopay problems to continue

CHARLEY MANN
Last updated 07:10 19/01/2013

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The Ministry of Education has warned schools that Novopay will continue to cause havoc in coming weeks as thousands of teachers prepare for the new academic year.

Some schools are starting the year in the red because of mistakes from the $29 million pay system.

Amuri Area School principal Neil Wilkinson had $30,000 deducted from his Culverden school's operational budget to pay three staff before Christmas.

The teachers had received payslips that showed they were paid more then they were owed but, on checking their bank accounts, they found they had been paid the correct holiday pay.

Even so, Novopay deducted $30,000 from Amuri's operational budget to pay the staff.

Wilkinson has also gone from having minus 14 to positive three staff as Novopay miscalculated a staffing report.

New Zealand Educational Institute national secretary Paul Goulter said the reports allowed schools to adjust their staffing across the year to ensure they were using teaching resources in the most efficient way.

There might be some weeks when a school was not employing the full number of staff, he said, but would employ more staff later in the year as needs arose.

"If a principal gets those calculations wrong, it can be serious for that school," he said.

"If they haven't employed enough teachers over a year, then students have been short-changed, but if they have employed too many, then they will have a funding shortfall."

Education Workforce group manager Rebecca Elvy said the ministry had reassured schools affected by inaccurate reports that none would be left disadvantaged.

The technical fix was being "rigorously" tested and should be released within the next fortnight.

The ministry would make an advance to any school having cashflow problems, she said.

"Improvements are being made to Novopay, but the ministry acknowledges that the rate of improvement is not nearly fast enough," she said.

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