The teachers, from six schools in Grahamstown, were each owed between R36 000 and R90 000, the Dispatch Online reported.
The Legal Resources Centre was assisting them.
It wanted the department to pay within five days or have its assets seized under the State Liability Act, the website reported.
According to the Dispatch Online, the department failed to honour a promise to pay all temporary teachers by last Wednesday.
"We are assured that the list of outstanding payments is with treasury. They should get their money by the latest, Monday," department spokesperson Loyiso Pulumani was reported as saying.
The teachers' application would be heard in the Grahamstown High Court next Friday. – Sapa