HALLOWELL — Some Regional School Unit 2 employees have not been getting paid the correct amount, and others have reported a number of issues with payroll and benefits, ranging from erroneous leave time deductions to problems with health insurance and retirement plans.

Interim Superintendent Rick Amero addressed the issues, which he said date back to at least July 2021, in an email Sunday night to all staff members.

“During my first 49 school days, I have discovered an abundance of positive things occurring in our district,” he wrote in the email. “However, prior to my leaving the district last year, (Kennebec Intra-District Schools)-RSU 2 was experiencing challenges in its human resources department; and unfortunately, I discovered those same issues have continued to exist and have directly impacted many of you.” 

The memorandum followed a Thursday night meeting of the RSU 2 board of directors, at which Amero briefly referred to “issues with retaining staff and payroll,” but the topic was not discussed further.

Amero took on the role of interim superintendent in October after Matt Gilbert departed the district at the end of September to return to his previous school district. Amero had been the principal of Monmouth Academy, which is in RSU 2, until the fall of 2021.

He said issues that existed when he was principal were still problems when he returned to the district in October.


Amero estimated 15 to 20 employees have contacted him regarding concerns with not being paid the correct amount, not having a family member on their insurance or having issues with their 403(b) retirement accounts, among other problems. It is not yet clear how many people have been impacted.

Rick Amero, the interim superintendent in Regional School Unit 2, says the district has experienced issues with payroll and employee benefits dating back to at least July 2021. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal file

The issues could be a consequence of turnover in positions over the past couple of years; specifically, at the central office, where there have been miscommunications about responsibilities and data entry, according to Amero.

Amero offered to meet with employees to discuss the issues. A few have taken him up on the offer.

“There have been a lot of moving pieces,” he told the Kennebec Journal on Monday. “Some are protocols, some are from losing secretaries. There is a lot of institutional knowledge that is lost when staff turns over.” 

The Portland Public Schools have also experienced recent payroll problems, which officials have also linked to staffing issues.

Since Amero realized the payroll issues still existed upon his return, he contacted Maine School Management Association, which has assigned a person to help examine job descriptions and procedures, support the district and make recommendations.


Additionally, the district was to have undergone a change Jan. 2 to new central office software, Infinite Vision, but the switch has been halted until the data from the old software, ADS, is confirmed and corrected.

“This is the most-sacred stuff to any employee: benefits, pay, paid time off,” Amero said. “For any of us, it’s sacred.”

The district is also in a time of transition as it searches for a new superintendent and loses one of its five municipalities. Richmond opted to withdraw from RSU 2 with overwhelming voter support in November and will begin operating its own school district July 1.

Amero said he has received positive feedback from RSU 2 staff members regarding his memorandum, along with some “understandable” frustration. 

Keith Morang, president of the Kennebec Intra-District Schools Education Association, said the ongoing issues have been an “unnecessary distraction” to those who work in RSU 2.

The union leader described some of the lingering issues as “overpayment, underpayment, no pay, incorrect leave time deductions, substitute pay issues, incorrect employee health insurance premium deductions,” among others.


“The Association has been appreciative of Interim Superintendent Amero’s commitment to improving the accuracy of those who work in the Human Resource Department,” Morang wrote in an email to the Kennebec Journal. “We are at the point where we need the folks who work in this department to have this same level of commitment to accuracy.”

Donna Seppy, chair of the RSU 2 board, said getting pay and benefits “right from the start is vital to demonstrating how important and how much we value our dedicated employees,” and that officials plan to address the issues in a “timely manner.”

Seppy said the board budgeted funds last year to upgrade the payroll management system.

“As Superintendent Amero stated during our board meeting and in a written communication to our staff, we are addressing all challenges ‘through transparency, accountability and a model of continual improvement,'” Seppy wrote in an email to the Kennebec Journal.

“At the end of the day, employees are our greatest asset in serving our mission and RSU 2 is committed to demonstrating our appreciation and value for their hard work and dedication by providing accurate and reliable payroll processes.”

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