San Francisco educators occupy district headquarters, demand their paychecks

For a second day, educators are occupying the third floor of San Francisco school district headquarters. The issue here is pay, more specifically the lack of pay for some workers. A new pay system the district put in place in January is experiencing a technical glitch and union members say some workers haven't received a paycheck since.

On the third floor of San Francisco Unified School District headquarters, evidence of the ongoing sit in can be found; sleeping bags, snacks, and signs demanding teachers get paid now.

Michelle Schudel is one of those teachers struggling to pay rent and medical bills. "My particular story is, I'm missing a paycheck, it should have been automatically deposited into my account they have all my paperwork," said Schudel.

She is just one of the more than 1,000 of educators who have had problems getting paid after the district moved to a new payroll system in January.

The district and union members agree the new system seems to have problems recognizing employees who work in various jobs in the district, and those who are on leave.

The board of education President Jenny Lam came to meet with and address the protesters herself, admitting this error should never have happened and joining the pledge from the superintendent Dr. Vincent Matthews to sort the issue out as quickly as possible. 

"Our goal right now is to address the most critical issues of underpayment or non-payment first, and we are in the process of writing checks to provide every dollar and cent of the back pay owed to employees who have been most impacted," said Superintendent Dr. Vincent Matthews.

"This is the top priority, if we don't take care of our staff and our educators who are the heart and soul along with our children, our students, then there's just no other path forward," said President Lam.

Fellow board of education Commissioner Matt Alexander said solving the immediate issue of getting educators paid is just the first step. "We're going to do an analysis of how did this occur and to assure that staff are held accountable and that this does not happen again. It's disrespectful to our educators and again, on behalf of the district and as Dr. Matthews said yesterday, we apologize and we are going to make it right," said Alexander.

MORE: San Francisco teachers angry they aren't receiving paychecks, system glitch to blame

Schudel returned to work at San Francisco International High School Tuesday, but pledged to return, and sit in, or sleep in here until teachers get the pay they're ow "We will sit here until we get accountability. Until we get answers about when our teachers are going to get paid and making sure their benefits are getting paid," said Schudel.

The superintendent says there were more than 1,000 cases of under or non-payment, more than 940 have already been addressed, but there are still 59 outstanding cases that need to be verified. He says the goal is to have all the cases resolved by this Friday.