Shelby County Teacher Paycheck Delay Sparks Firestorm

Shelby County Teacher Paycheck Delay Sparks Firestorm

Are the inmates running the asylum? That's what one Shelby County School Board member is wondering after school leaders announced Shelby County teachers would have to go a month without being paid.
MEMPHIS, TN (localmemphis.com) - Are the inmates running the asylum? That's what one Shelby County School Board member is wondering after school leaders announced Shelby County teachers would have to go a month without being paid.

Interim Superintendent Dorsey Hopson says the delay is necessary to align paychecks for Memphis and Shelby County teachers ahead of the July 1st merger.

"It is no secret as teachers we are on budgets," said Austin Selby, who teaches history and track at Arlington High School. "Some forewarning would have been good, we could have planned differently and rearranged some things."

"Memphis City Schools employees are presently paid in arrears, meaning they are paid for days already worked," Hopson wrote to school board members. "Conversely, Shelby County Schools employees are paid current, meaning each paycheck includes days worked the week that paychecks are issued.

"As a result of switching legacy SCS employees from a schedule that pays current to one in the unified district that pays only for work completed, there will be some temporary payroll disruptions for some legacy SCS employees," Hopson went on to write. "Staff has worked extremely hard to find what we hope are helpful solutions."

In an impromptu news conference Friday afternoon, Hopson said he had just found out about the paycheck mess this week and was working to find a solution.

"The process, the way it was handled, the communication was unprofessional," said school board member David Reaves.

Reaves said that he had heard from countless Shelby County teachers and employees since they were alerted Thursday evening.

"I think when you are at the central office and you are making $130, $140, $150,000 a year, maybe sometimes we forget the impact of a change like this to a $40,000 employee," Reaves said.

"Right now it kind of throws questions in my mind, about the last phase of this and how well it is going to be handled. There is more to come," he added.

Hopson said Friday his staff would spend the weekend working on finding a solution, and hoped to have answers by Monday.

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