Not long after students returned from Christmas break, Rick Amero, then interim superintendent of Regional School Unit 2 in Hallowell, acknowledged the toll the district’s ongoing payroll problems were having on its teachers and staff. At the same time, school board chair Donna Seppy promised that the issue would be addressed in a “timely manner.”

Four months later, some number of RSU 2 employees are still not getting accurate paychecks, a problem that dates back nearly two years.

The continuing inability to solve this problem is inexcusable. To say the least, people depend on their pay being on time and accurate, and getting it right is the bare minimum we should expect from our public institutions.

What’s more, the district appears to have left its employees largely in the dark. When something goes wrong, the president of the local teacher’s union said this week, workers haven’t been able to get the answers they need.

The district hasn’t said exactly what is causing the payroll problems, which include some people not getting paid at all, and some getting paid twice, while others have the wrong deductions taken from their checks.

The problems are similar to those experienced by Portland Public Schools, which ultimately led to the resignation of the superintendent.


When news of the problems surfaced in January, Amero, who has since been named permanent superintendent, said the problems dated back to at least July 2021, when he was a principal at Monmouth Academy. The district had planned to launch a new financial software system Jan. 2, with the hope that it would solve the problem, but that was delayed until April so that the district’s information could be migrated to the system correctly.

Now, after three pay periods using the new software, glitches are still “widespread and consistent,” according to Keith Morang, the union president.

Amero has blamed the problems on staff turnover and a loss of institutional knowledge in the central office as secretaries have left, which led to miscommunication about responsibilities.

There has also been a lot of turnover in the district’s top position, with Amero now the sixth superintendent in RSU 2 in just the last three years.

The mistakes strike right at the heart of trust between the people who run the district — the superintendent’s office and the school board — and the teachers and staff who work with students every day.

It didn’t help when the district’s business manger seemed to underplay the payroll problems at a meeting in May, calling them “hiccups.” Not getting paid on time is only a “hiccup” when it happens to someone else.

Seppy, the school board chair, had it right back in January. “At the end of the day, employees are our greatest asset in serving our mission,” she said, “and RSU 2 is committed to demonstrating our appreciation and value for their hard work and dedication by providing accurate and reliable payroll processes.”

It’s time for RSU 2 to live up to that statement.

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