SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — The superintendent of the San Francisco Unified School District has declared a payroll state of emergency over ongoing payment issues for hundreds of school district employees.

It has been nearly a year of headaches for teachers and other school district employees because of the new payroll system, Empower SF, which launched in January. The district superintendent, Dr. Matt Wayne, is taking significant action.

Wayne said effective immediately, there is a command center of staff fully focused on correcting the payroll issues. They will also be creating a dashboard so people can see how many issues they are currently working on, and how they are being handled.

President of the United Educators of San Francisco Union, Cassondra Curiel, said district employees have high expectations for this command center. “The payroll system itself is a software system. It does what you tell it to do. Our expectations is this group comes together and solves the root problems systemically, so no individual is having to suffer through the same problem each and every month,” said Curiel.

Curiel said they have been protesting for months, and she wishes leadership would have taken action sooner. “This should have been the response by the district in March when we were sleeping in their offices. And so, while I welcome this step, it’s a much-needed step, it’s also very delayed. It’s months and months late,” added Curiel.

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School district leaders are calling Monday’s action necessary saying that people’s lives have been significantly affected by the system’s shortcomings. “As board president, I’ve been frustrated and ashamed to watch the empower system create so many life hardships for many of our employees,” said Jenny Lam, San Francisco Board of Education president.

“The biggest wave of grievance occurred in February when over a thousand people either didn’t get paid or were severely underpaid,” said Curiel. United Educators of San Francisco has filed an unfair labor practice charge with the state because of the more than 200 payroll grievances.