The Washington school system, which hired 75 teachers this summer to write new curriculum books and 18 students to type them, is having serious problems getting its summer workers paid.
The system is also having difficulty getting the books typed properly.
Because the high school students typed so slowly and made so many spelling errors, said Joan Brown, director of the curriculum project, nine typing teachers have been hired to finish the job.
The teachers are getting $9 to $11 an hour, depending on seniority, Brown said. The students who are being paid $425 an hour, now type only rough drafts.
"The students were making so many mistakes they just couldn't produce the camera-ready copy," Brown said. "They were all recommended to us as the better (typing) students in their schools, but they have real problems."
Even though the summer work started on June 19, so far none of the teachers and only two of the students have received any paychecks.
Last week Assoicate Superintendent James T. Guines assured the summer workers that the system had enough money to pay them, but he said in a letter that "because of unanticipated delays beyond our immediated control, checks . . . may not be delivered before Sept. 1."
Yesterday Guines said the tangle of paperwork holding up the paychecks had recently been unravelled. He promised that all of the students would be paid by Aug. 4 and all of the teachers would get their first paychecks by Aug. 16.
"We're kind of on top of it now," Guines said. "I know we're late, but it's not as late as the letter implied it was going to be. We had to make sure all of the money was in the right accounts before anybody could be paid."
The curriculum books that the teachers and students are working on are part of the new competency-based curriculum, which the school system has been developing for the past two years.
One set of books gives step-by-step objectives in reading, grammar, mathematics and science, which are supposed to be used by teachers throughout the school system this fall from kindergarten through 12th grade.
Other books detail how to teach each objective and provide tests to make sure students have mastered them. The detailed curriculum books are expected to be used this fall in about 60 of the system's 180 schools.
Brown said she planned to have most of the curriculum written during the past school year, but arrangements could not be made for teachers working out of their regular classes.
This summer the writing is being done at Shaw Junior High School, 10th Street and Rhode Island Avenue NW. The cost of the project, including printing, is about $175,000, according to school officials.
In interviews students who have not been paid yet said they live at home and are getting money from their parents. Several said their mothers or aunts who are teachers told them about the jobs.
"Hey, we should have gotten our money already," said one student who asked that her name not be used. "I guess they're going to be good for it, but we shouldn't have to wait so long."
Several teachers complained about the long delay, although others didn't seem upset.
"I do expect to be paid," said Aubrey Jones, a science teacher from Terrell Elementary School, Wheeler Road and Savannah Street SE. "But I'm more interested in getting this curriculum through. We really believe in what we're doing."