A two-year-long SF Unified School District payroll fiasco is still not resolved, so the district has decided to cut ties with the calamity of a payroll system called EMPower, and start over with a whole new vendor.

The San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) started using a new payroll system called EMPower in January 2022, and two months later, teachers were already camping out at district headquarters to protest because payments weren’t showing up, or were far smaller than they were supposed to be. Despite a ton more money being thrown at the problem, the payment problems have persisted for two years, leading to headlines like “SF Unified Is Spending $2.8 Million on a Consultant to Fix Another Consultant's Error.”    

Mission Local reported in December that the district was getting ready to scrap the EMPower payroll system, though that was sourced reporting, and not an official district announcement. But we got that official announcement Thursday night, as the Chronicle reports SFUSD announced they were dumping EMPower.

“This decision was made after thoughtful and careful consideration of what kind of (employee management) system we need as the third largest employer in San Francisco,” Superintendent Matt Wayne said in a Thursday night district statement. “We are taking lessons learned from our switch to EMPowerSF in 2022 as we plan for this transition. I am confident that this change is in the best interest of our employees.”

Still, EMPower was a costly financial boondoggle. The initial cost of the contract was $9.5 million, which grew and grew, until the district spent an estimated $40 million on it. All of this while the district was running a $400 million deficit and leaving positions unfilled.

Meanwhile, it’s expected to take a year and a half to transition to the new system, which is called California Enterprise Resource System from the vendor Frontline Education.

Related: SF Teachers Camp Outside School District Headquarters, Demanding Missed Paychecks [SFist]

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