LAUSD to Employees: Show Me the Money

Now that the LA Unified School District (LAUSD) has supposedly "solved" its on-going payroll problem, it wants all 36,000 of its employees who have been "over-paid" to a tune of $53 million by mistake to pony up the money - like yesterday.

In a story by the LA Times, this "request" has placed employees in a bit of a conundrum:

"The move to recover the money is placing teachers and other staff in the Los Angeles Unified School District in an unpalatable position. They must either trust the district's claim that they were overpaid and repay the money or dispute the calculations and face further chaos come tax season."

So who do you fight: the LAUSD or the IRS and California state tax folks or all three? Nice choice, eh?

The Times story goes on:

"Affected employees -- the vast majority are teachers -- have until Dec. 10 to choose whether to repay the district the entire amount they received, request a repayment plan, repay only the amount they believe they were overpaid or refuse to pay anything."

There are 7,000 employees who are owed $7 million, but the LAUSD isn't promising to get them their money by 10 December, however.

The LAUSD Chief Operating Officer is telling employees to "trust the LAUSD" when it tells them how much money they owe it or it owes them, but it is extremely difficult for individuals who haven't been receiving correct paychecks for the past 11 months to verify the totals given. The LAUSD also admits that at least 3,000 of its latest paychecks in its "fixed system" still aren't correct, either.

When the LAUSD was asked whether the letters being sent out demanding payment were correct, the COO said:

"Are the calculations '100% guaranteed'? No. But it's highly probable. We have a higher degree of confidence than ever before that we are accurate."

Boy, I bet you lots of LAUSD employees are taking comfort in those words.


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Robert Charette
Spotsylvania, Va.
Willie D. Jones
New York City