Jordana Alzate puts on her best game face in front of her children, but her pay stubs from the Los Angeles Unified School District are enough to make the second grade teacher crack, reports CBS News correspondent Sandra Hughes.
Alzate's pay problems started right after the premature birth of her fourth child, Enzo. While he was fighting for his life, she had to fight for her pay. She says that since March, pretty much every check has been incorrect.
"I'm short $900 here," she says, pointing to one check, "and the next one is $297 ... I'm short about $2,000 dollars on that check," she adds, pointing to a third.
Like nearly 40,000 other teachers, Alzate has been caught up in a payday nightmare brought on by the school district's new $40 million computer payroll system. Since January, it has spit out $53 million in overpayments, $7 million in underpayments, and sometimes no pay at all
"They are wondering why they're teaching," said A.J. Duffy, president of the United Teachers of Los Angeles. "We're hearing more and more people saying after this year, I'm gone."
Angry teachers have put the spotlight on superintendent David Brewer who says a new, $10 million consulting team has fixed the problem.
"I think what most teachers will find right now is that for the vast majority of them, their checks are correct," he said.
The Los Angeles school superintendent may believe the payroll problem is solved, but try telling that to teachers in this room who have been battling bureaucracy to get paid for almost a year.
"I think it's laughable," says teacher Richard Sayer. "I think it's like, 'Let's tell everybody what they want to hear, go away.'"
This month, Jordana Alzate finally got her first correct paycheck in nine months. But she's still owed money.
"For me it's been a humongous stress on my family and myself," said Alzate.
For now, she'll try to figure her way out of debt.