The audit comes after hundreds of Portland school teachers and employees were left unpaid or underpaid for weeks.
The central offices of Portland Public Schools on Cumberland Avenue. Credit: Seth Koenig / BDN

Portland Public Schools on Tuesday released the findings of a forensic audit looking at ongoing payroll problems within the district.

The audit comes months after hundreds of teachers and employees were left unpaid or underpaid for weeks. At the time, the district blamed staffing challenges and a software malfunction for the payroll system failure.

The audit from Spinglass Management Group found staffing within payroll remains a big issue for the district. It has just one full-time temporary manager and a part-time payroll specialist.

“This is inadequate for an entity with 1,900 employees,” Spinglass said.

As of Jan. 24, there have been 1,381 logged payroll concerns, 446 of which are still outstanding.

The audit found “inadequate and poorly programmed software which was not maintained properly broke down,” and that “controls over the capture of employee time are inadequate.”

As a result of staff interviews and a review of reporting and systems, Spinglass Management Group has made the following recommendations:

— Hourly employees should enter all hours into Frontline time and attendance module, including paid time off

— Salaried employees should enter all paid time off in the absence management module

— Substitute teacher days should all be entered in the absence management module

Overall, the auditors said Portland Public Schools needs to “embrace a culture of change” and “address staffing needs” in order to fix the ongoing issues.

Spinglass continues working with Portland Public Schools on follow-up work.