Montclair Schools: Staff With Direct Deposit Didn’t Receive Checks; Protest Planned Today

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Update: This afternoon, parents in the district received this letter regarding payroll issue:


Dear Staff and Families,

I want to inform the Montclair community of an issue that occurred today that affected all Montclair Public School District staff members. I hope to reassure this community and gain your trust. Through an unfortunate error in the Business Office, all Montclair staff members did not receive their pay this morning. As of mid-afternoon, all direct deposits were restored. This event furthered a growing level of distrust due to a previous error in salaries for certain staff earlier this year.

District-wide culture and climate should be a priority for any school district leader as it is paramount for me. Understandably, mistakes like these have a negative impact on the way we feel about where we work. It is important for our staff members to be able to rely on their employer.

I want to acknowledge that this error occurred and apologize for this situation as well as commend the Montclair staff members for their resilience. It is unacceptable that oversights have led to these mistakes and all involved will be held accountable. It is through accountability and my increased involvement that I will diligently put systems in place to prevent errors.

I apologize for any frustration and stress this placed on our staff and their families.

Thank you for your continued support.

Sincerely,

Dr. Nathan N. Parker

Interim Superintendent of Schools

Instead of finding their paychecks direct deposited into their bank accounts, Montclair Schools staff woke up to an upsetting email early this morning from Business Manager Emidio D’Andrea. It read:

My sincere apologies. Direct deposit has not transmitted at this time. I am heading to my office immediately to reach out to the bank. I will keep all staff informed on the status.

Employees are paid on the 1st and 15th of the month. Today’s mix-up comes as Montclair Schools is still working on rectifying its salary mess.

Members of Montclair Education Association have planned a Protest For Pay today, Tuesday, October 15, from
2:30 to 5:00 p.m. at the Montclair Board of Education, 22 Valley Road, Montclair.

MEA is protesting that their 1000 plus members’ contract has not been honored by the Montclair Public Schools District; and MEA members being paid 2017-18 salaries and charged 2019-20 rate for health benefits, resulting in a net loss in take home pay.

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16 COMMENTS

  1. Where did my first comment go?
    How can Montclair have four schools that have been named Best Teachers- and then NOT pay the teachers? From what I understand this underpaying and incorrectly paying teachers has gone on at least as long as school started- not to mention some teachers who have been fighting incorrect pay for years.
    Why is this happening? How has our central office administration deteriorated so far?
    How would you feel waking up to no pay- no way to feed your children, fuel your automobile, pay your mortgage, tolls to get to work, and the list goes on?? Am I the only one outraged????

  2. The MEA should ask their personal champion in the BOE, Eve Robinson, why she can’t seem to get them the new pay rates they asked her for. Come on, that’s not how quid pro quo works.

  3. “The MEA should ask their personal champion in the BOE, Eve Robinson, why she can’t seem to get them the new pay rates they asked her for. Come on, that’s not how quid pro quo works.”

    Before mocking the union and Eve Robinson, maybe you should ask the previous board members who foisted an under-qualified superintendent on the district and then left after a year, leaving behind a shocking level of incompetence that has required another taxpayer-financed layer of hires to clean up the mess.

  4. Spookyt-
    The teachers don’t ASK for pay increases- they EARN them- just like you earn yours.

    Montclair Public is correct- hiring unqualified paper is now rampant it started with the superintendent and then continued with others she chose- some still working in district and others who left or were fired.

    What is happening in this town- once we earned Blue Ribbon awards from Presidential committees and now we can’t even pay staff correctly or timely.

  5. Living in glass houses has its issues.

    I wonder what the MEA and the NJEA were doing all Summer?
    Didn’t the union notice a lack of a vote by the Montclair BoE approving the new salaries? Is money not a priority of your union?

    As to Blue Ribbon awards from the last century…c’mon. Watchung school got it twice, consecutively. Hillside hit the lottery, once. That’s it. We have far more schools on warning than recognition…and we’re graded on a very generous curve.

  6. Sure, Frank, it’s the union’s job to supervise the district’s payroll. Get a grip. And what is your evidence that Montclair, as opposed to any other district, is graded on a “very generous curve?” Please stop spreading (dare I say it?) fake news.

  7. And do you know that all MEA teachers are performing at a “meets expectation” or better rating?

    You do know that is impossible, right? Let’s say the MEA wants to make the argument this is possible and in fact true. So the MEA has realized this unbelievable achievement, year in, year out. Yet, we can not begin to meet this standard for kids in their classrooms.

    Do you know what the district’s legal standard is for a passing grade? Sobering.

    The number one priority should be to get EVERY district school up to our minimum standards. No exceptions, same standard for all schools.

    Hopefully, our standards would be more rigorous than the State’s. I don’t understand why, with $130MM budget, $80MM in school debt, and a flat enrollment we can’t achieve this?

    Keep working to elevate, strive, blah blah, blah….but, they are lesser priorities. And it goes without saying no co-equal, #1 priorities.

    Bottomline is if we cannot do this, then we can’t excel. Advocate for that.

  8. It the MEA Management’s job to keep abreast of important processes, milestones, dates, etc. It is in their best interest to make sure this is done and if they have to back up an incompetent Central Office, then that is what they have to do. So Montclair Public, you need to get a grip or take some evening classes.

    I’m sorry you don’t know which schools are doing well and which ones aren’t. Fake news? Amusing. There are 3 schools in right off the top.

  9. What also will be amusing is this Winter’s school budget. I’m assuming the Central Office baked into their numbers a 2% teacher’s contract increase. With a retroactive 2.75% for ’18, a 3.25% increase for ’19 and a 3.5% increase for next July, it will mean a hefty little tax increase.
    I have to imagine the run-up to the muni election will be interesting.

  10. I think that figure is very high. Instructional costs are under $60MM. The district had to account for the new contract in the 2019-20 budget. Therefore, I would expect about $750K above what was budgeted. However, the Central Office budget now has to go up $250K. Bottom line – $1MM.

    Regardless of our speculation, the BoE committed to quarterly budget performance. The 1st Quarter just ended 9/30. I would ask them.

  11. “There is still a 2% cap on school tax. So, what this essentially means is about $2.2m less for all things not teacher payroll, things like textbooks, computers, etc.”

    You can always count on someone here to equate teacher compensation with depriving students of textbooks, as if teachers should never get a raise or be paid a livable (whatever that is in northern NJ) wage. Meanwhile, no mention of the district incompetence, instability and occasional negligence that is costing a fortune in interim hires, consultants, search committees and Lord knows what.

  12. To the contrary Montclair Public. I think the District mgmt AND the MEA mgnt are incompetent. They both brought in competent outsiders to negotiate the contract. However, when the outsiders were done and they handed back to the respective local mgmt…both promptly screwed it up!

  13. To the contrary Montclair Public. I think the District mgmt AND the MEA mgnt are incompetent. They both brought in competent outsiders to negotiate the contract. However, when the outsiders were done and they handed back to the respective local mgmt…both promptly screwed it up!

    Again, I don’t see how the district being unable to input payroll has anything to do with the MEA. It negotiated and ratified a contract. End of story. And that’s not the point I was making, anyway. Focus!

  14. More focus? OK. The MEA had the time & effort to audit the district’s budget (https://www.montclairlocal.news/2019/03/28/montclair-education-association-budget-nj/) and to calculate the days until they got their new contract, but then checked out for the rest of the approval process to actually get their members paid? The members paid their union to represent them and their well-being. I’m simply saying the MEA had the wherewithal to mitigate the harm. They didn’t…and you’re saying the MEA shouldn’t in the future. I’m ok with that.

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