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Novopay Errors Running Down Schools Funds

1 February, 2013
Immediate Release

Novopay Errors Running Down Schools Funds

News that over 12,000 teachers and school support staff have been wrongly paid to the tune of $12 million in non-payment and under-payments by Novopay is not news to two Canterbury principals.

Peter Verstappen - principal at Southbridge School says that the system has created a series of other problems including taking money out of school funds and creating a false picture of staffing at the school.

And it does not look like it is going to get any better in the near future. He says there are five errors in the preliminary report for next week’s pay round.

“This is in a school with a teaching staff of only eight.”

He says the school’s operation grant is $8000 in debt due to Novopay errors.

“The Novopay system, we were told, would be as easy as online banking. As far as we can see there are only two functions out of the 101 functions that work properly.

“My concern is even if they fix it, it will not be the system we were promised.”

He says that another unforeseen problem is going to be the reconciliation of the staffing quota at the end of the payroll year in a few week’s time.

This is a concern shared by principal at St Martins School, Rob Callaghan.

The staffing entitlement from the Ministry of Education to schools each year is being affected by errors in the pay system by giving a false picture of the staffing at the school – for example paying people who have resigned.

The money for over-runs in staffing comes out of the school’s operations grant.

Mr Callaghan says his school’s operations grant may be in debt between $30-60,000 because of the errors.

“It is not something that I want to think about at the moment. I want to get on with the job that I am supposed to be doing.

“I would like a system that works and is reliable. Novopay was never right in the first place and was not trialed properly. Ministers need to stand up and take responsibility for this.”

NZEI did a survey last year of extra administrative costs to schools associated with Novopay.

The total combined estimated cost to the 150 schools that submitted, be it direct, or in lost time, for the period of 1 September to 31 October is $761,237


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