Teuila Fuatai is a reporter for the NZ Herald

Compo falls short: Schools

Northland schools will be receiving more than $282,000 in compensation for Novopay payroll botch-ups.

A $6 million nation-wide compensation package was announced this week by Steven Joyce, Minister in Charge of Novopay, aimed at providing financial assistance to schools struggling with the flawed payroll system.

All full-time teacher equivalent staff will receive $105 payment, and each school an extra $500.

As at April 2012, the Ministry of Education recorded 1980 full-time teacher equivalents working at 148 Northland schools.

The tally does not include auxiliary staff, caretakers and non-teaching staff, who will be reimbursed also. Principal of Horahora School Pat Newman said the compensation won't come close to covering the cost the Novopay debacle has accrued at his school.

"I would estimate the extra cost at $5000 at least," Mr Newman said.

He emphasised that this compensation package does nothing to address the extra stress Novopay has put on his administration staff.

"At Horahora School we are thinking about how we can use that money to help cover the extra work and stress involved for the women in my office," Mr Newman said.

Kamo High School executive officer Shirley Kearney said the compensation is "fairly minimal compared to what we've been through."

"I now spend at least five full days a fortnight on Novopay, so the compensation is way off," she said.

Tauraroa Area School principal Grant Burns recommends the Government persevere with the error-ridden system. Reverting to the previous Datacom system would be "unrealistic" as staff members had moved on, the former Northland Principals' Association president said.

Results of a technical review were also released, revealing Novopay software platforms were unstable due to a backlog of 19,000 pay-related problems.

Under the compensation package, Tauraroa Area School would receive about $4000, Mr Burns said.

This was unlikely to match the amount of time spent fixing mistakes associated with the system, he said.

"What we want is for Novopay to work properly," Mr Burns said.

- Northern Advocate

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