It’s been more than a year since school employees in Gaston County began having payroll issues due to the implementation of a new system. Last week, Gaston County Schools agreed to settle a lawsuit filed by NCAE earlier this spring on behalf of members.
Alexa Gram Feller, president of the Gaston County Association of Educators (GCAE) is one of the employees who was affected. She says she still feels uneasy every time she gets paid. “I review and compare my checks every month since this happened,” said the fifth-grade English Language Arts teacher who works at Dr. Edward Sadler Jr. Elementary School.
Alexa said she had an issue with her retirement deduction and requested it be documented. It was also discovered she did not receive her supplement in 2022 for the months of August and September and she filed a claim, which is still pending. “This situation affected both me and my husband because we were worried there could be more mistakes or bigger ones to come.”
The mishap impacted thousands of educators in the district which resulted in employees being underpaid or not getting paid at all. GCAE organized and mobilized to bring attention to the issue by coordinating town hall meetings, school walk-ins, and RedforEd Wednesday’s. Members, along with their colleagues, also sent more than 2,000 emails to policymakers and made impressive showings at school board meetings.
Since the filing of the lawsuit and with the insistence of Gaston NCAE members, GCS has implemented a streamlined system for employees to have payroll issues resolved promptly. This system has been in place for several weeks and is working. As part of the settlement agreement, NCAE and GCS agree to resume regular meetings to ensure payroll and other related matters are resolved amicably.
“I am so glad our voices have finally been heard. It is an unreal feeling that NCAE/GCAE had to do this in order for us to receive our correct pay.”