WAVERLY – The District 145 School Board of Education held a hearing during the school board meeting on Feb. 1 for a grievance filed by bus driver Rick Haas on Dec. 1.
Haas was hired by the district at the end of July 2020. During his interview with Transportation Director Deb Hennessy, Haas said that he left with the understanding that the pay would be competitive to other area schools.
“Deb and I had a deal in my view,” Haas said.
While an actual salary was not pinned down between Haas and Hennessy during their phone call, he was surprised to learn that the pay was not competitive and felt “it was like the wage conversation never happened.”
The hearing allowed Haas to present his evidence for 10 minutes and the administration to speak for 10 minutes.
Haas said he had expected the salary to be competitive to Lincoln Public Schools because he lives in Lincoln. Prior to his employment with the district, Haas was in the middle of the hiring process with LPS when the pandemic hit, hindering his plans to work for the Lincoln district.
Superintendent Dr. Cory Worrell explained that for Waverly, competitive bus driver salaries wouldbe compared to high schools like Raymond Central, Ashland-Greenwood or Norris, not necessarily LPS.
“We try to be competitive with those schools,” Worrell said. “We can’t be competitive with LPS.”
Waverly starting wage is $18 an hour for new bus drivers with no prior experience. Wage can increase as time goes on. Haas said he can live with whatever the board decides, but that the current pay is not enough.
“I’d like to stay here,” Haas said. “But the math doesn’t work for me to keep doing this.”
After both sides spoke, the board discussed the topic further in order to get to a decision.
“I’m just shocked we hired anybody without giving them a salary,” Board Member Scott Claycomb said.
The school board denied Haas’s grievance on the grounds that this is a wage negotiation that needs to happen between the school board and the Waverly Transportation Association. All members voted yes, but Claycomb.
In other action, the school board voted on and approved the purchase of 395 laptops for Waverly schools for $161,385 and 65-passenger bus for $87,500.
The bus was purchased from Cornhusker International for $87,500. Worrell said that since the district has a grant, about $42,000 of the bus cost will be covered. The district plans to purchase another bus within the school year.
The board also heard from Waverly Intermediate School parent Shanna Allison during the open forum in regards to her son Logan being pulled from recess for various reasons.
On Jan. 20, Allison said Logan was pulled from both recesses that day. The first recess was used to watch the Inauguration and the second recess was because a form had not been signed.
Allison said it did not happen when her son was at Hamlow Elementary, but started when he began at WIS. Logan also spoke at the meeting estimating that he had been pulled from recess three or four times this semester because planners weren’t signed or assigned reading had not been completed.
“There is a fine line between responsibility and discipline,” Allison said.
She also cited District 145 guidelines which stated that the district will strive to provide physical activity. Allison said that the goal is to bring it to the administration›s attention and to stop preventing students from going to recess.
“It should not be messed with unless absolutely necessary,” Allison said.
The school board will next meet on March 1 at 7 p.m.