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San Francisco teachers stage sleep-in to protest missing paychecks

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San Francisco Unified School Superintendent Dr. Vincent Matthews met yesterday with a group of school teachers to discuss problems with the district’s new payroll system that has left some educators unpaid since January.

Dr. Matthews apologized to the group for the payroll problems and said he would hold himself accountable for resolving the problems. The United Educators of San Francisco, the teachers union, has charged the district with negligence.

About 20 teachers and union members, armed with sleeping bags, pillows and snacks, spent last night at the district’s headquarters.

The educators rallied to protest the district’s transition to the new payroll system last November, which has left hundreds of teachers underpaid or unpaid. Others say they have had their medical insurance canceled or had improper deductions made to their pay.

Some teachers have had to scramble to pay rents or have been hit with bank overdraft fees. The district has been forced to cut more than 800 off-cycle checks and more teachers are awaiting payment.

The payroll problems coincide as the district grapples with a 125-million deficit and the planned layoff of more than 600 teachers and staff members.

Sunni M. Khalid is a veteran of more than 40 years in journalism, having worked in print, radio, television, and web journalism.