Wainui School in Gisborne has sent the Ministry of Education
a bill for more than $10,000 to cover extra work resulting
from ongoing problems with the new Novopay payroll system.
Wainui is the latest in a series of schools nationwide to
make this bold statement, with an invoice for $10,867.50 sent
to the ministry.
Board of trustees chairwoman Ailsa Cuthbert said in a
covering letter that the bill was to cover overtime endured
by the school's principal.
Wainui principal Nolian Andrew had worked through weekends
and till 10pm on weeknights sorting out Novopay issues.
"She has done this so the children and staff of the school
will not be disadvantaged in any way, and their levels of
achievement will not have suffered due to her diligent
handling of this issue," said Ms Cuthbert.
It has, however, impacted greatly on Mrs Andrew's personal
life, her health, and caused unnecessary stress, the letter
"We feel it is imperative that her efforts be recognised and
remunerated and, as such, are charging you for her time at a
Ms Cuthbert said primary and secondary schools across the
country were taking similar extreme action in response to the
injustice they were suffering as a result of Novopay's
"I think every professional understands there is an element
of overtime in every job - but to this extent is ridiculous.
Nobody should have to work all weekend and late at night
because they can't get through the problems with the new
One of the teachers was missing payments going back to July
and the school had to take money from its operational fund to
relieve that employee's situation, she said.
"People have bills and mortgages to pay - they can't not get
"We are meant to be providing the best quality education we
can, not sorting out the Government's internal payment system
The issue is by no means confined to Wainui School, or to
At the end of last month, Secondary School Principals'
Association president Patrick Walsh presented a bill for
costs incurred by 32 schools in New Zealand, totalling around
$125,000, to Education Secretary Lesley Longstone.
Individual schools' invoices had ranged from $1000 to
$20,000, depending on the extent of problems at each school.
"It originally started as a statement to the minister but
these problems have been going on for months and months, and
schools now have a realistic expectation that schools will be
compensated for these extra hours."
A Ministry of Education spokeswoman acknowledged it had
received the invoice from Wainui School.
- By Marino Harker-Smith of the Gisborne Herald