The Boulder Valley School District’s transition to new enterprise software, including new payroll and hiring systems, is proving difficult.
The new enterprise resource planning system, which the district began using in late March, is expected to modernize systems for business services, human resources and IT departments while moving data to the cloud.
But the new payroll system, in particular, hasn’t worked as well as hoped, with ‘hundreds’ of staff saying they’ve been paid less than they’re due as a small district team works shifts extra to solve problems.
Superintendent Rob Anderson sent a letter to employees this week, apologizing for the issues and promising the district will continue to address them.
“While every ERP launch is difficult, the BVSD launch was particularly difficult,” he wrote. “We know this has been a tougher lift than expected and we recognize the significant impact this has had on some of our employees. We also recognize that even though we have handled thousands of tickets, some employees are still struggling with issues today. »
The district created a support ticket system to address concerns. In July, Anderson also ordered staff members to immediately pay anyone who believed their salary was insufficient, instead of waiting for an investigation to be completed.
Lisa Larsen, intensive para-educator and president of the Boulder Valley Paraeducators Association, said hourly workers must use the system to log in and out daily — and the system doesn’t always work, especially for those who hold more than one job. Incorrect wages can also be more difficult for hourly workers, she said.
This week, she says, she helped a para who didn’t receive as much as expected for his summer program and didn’t have enough to pay his rent.
“We are the lowest paid people in the district,” she said. “The impact of not getting our full check really presents a lot of hardship in our daily lives. When you’re living check for check, it’s been very scary for people.
She said district administrators were helpful and quick to resolve issues when she called with union members’ concerns. But, she says, employees’ experiences after submitting support tickets have varied, creating frustration.
“I know from the district that it was not a bad intention,” she said. “It’s a problem with the system itself and its size. It is a complicated system and change is difficult.
She said more training sessions could also help resolve some issues with using the new system. Employees previously saw a breakdown of their additional pay for longevity and education on their pay stub, she noted, but now must find it in the online system. The same was true for accrued leave.
“It’s a big change,” she said.
Boulder Valley bus driver Sam Trueblood, secretary of the Boulder Valley Classified Employees Association, also shared issues with the system at a recent school board meeting. He said his union was concerned the system could not handle all job classifications and called for it to be thoroughly tested and employees trained before it was rolled out.
“It appears that few of these requests have been processed,” he said. “When the system went live…the district was unprepared.”
He said hundreds of hourly employees have reported problems.
“In many cases, corrections took months,” he said, adding that some employees had to use money from their savings or ask friends and family for loans to pay their bills during the lockdown. error investigation. “BVSD cares is a message the district often says, but it’s just not where we stand.”
Maria Wilson, enterprise resource planning software project manager, said the district spent several years planning a new system, then tested it in three rounds, increasing from six to eight weeks each time and involving more than 100 people.
“We learned a lot more after it went live and realized that some things weren’t working as well as expected,” she said. “Tickets go down every month as people learn the system and we make fixes. Our small team cares a lot.
Chief Information Officer Frank Elmore added that the district’s payroll system is “surprisingly complex.” Some employees work more than one job for the district. Additionally, there are several ways employees can receive additional compensation, including additional service compensation and additional compensation for longevity and education.
In total, the district has nearly 6,000 employees and nearly 200 different job categories.
District officials said everyone is on deck as they work to resolve issues and help employees navigate the new systems.
“We are committed to doing it right,” Elmore said.