“Human Error” Causes 2,800 School Employees’ Pay to Be Removed, Causing Many Bounced Checks


By John Sasaki

The following is a statement released by the Oakland Unified School District after employees had their recent paychecks removed from their bank accounts this week.

I am writing with an important update regarding our payroll issues that may have impacted up to 2,821 of our monthly paid employees.

As soon as we began hearing from employees across the district, our first goal was to ensure that missing payroll funds were replaced as quickly as possible. As of noon (Wednesday), repayment was initiated on the part of OUSD and the District’s bank, Union Bank.

These funds will be accessible to employees as soon as end of day (Wednesday). Many staff have already reported seeing reinstatement of their payroll funds.

After an initial review, it has become clear that Union Bank was not responsible for this problem. We apologize to Union Bank for erroneously stating that this payroll situation was their fault.

Unfortunately, our payroll department discovered that the reversal of staff members’ pay was the result of human error. Again, we are sorry that this happened, and we are taking this matter very seriously.

A full root-cause analysis and investigation into this matter is underway.

In the process to reverse the error, all monthly paid employees received reinstatement of funds even if they did not have funds removed.

That means some employees will receive double payment. As public funds, such overpayments must be returned to the District.

Regrettably, this error also means that some people incurred overdraft fees.

More information regarding double payments and any overdraft fee reimbursements will be shared in the coming days.

“As we address this regrettable error,” said Superintendent Kyla Johnson Trammell, “I want to be clear that this is not related to the current budget crisis. I am deeply sorry for any inconvenience and stress this may have caused; however, I am relieved by how quickly OUSD staff worked to ensure repayment of wages.”

John Sasaki is communications director of the Oakland Unified School District.


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