Waverly teachers pushing for contract deal, causes heated school board meeting

Posted at 7:00 AM, Jan 24, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-24 11:43:57-05

It's about respect. That's what teachers say.

"I want to be valued," says Nick Niederquell, who's been teaching at Waverly for 15 years. "I want to be valued as an employee, I want to be valued as a person, I want to be valued for what I do in the classroom."

They say they don't feel like they're being respected by the Waverly school board or the superintendent.

"We want to be compensated fairly," explains Kristin Kochheiser, another teacher who has been at Waverly for more than a decade, "we're not in it for the money, but we do have our own families and we do need to provide for them."

And when teachers, parents, students, and alumni came out to show their disdain for still being without a contract, the board listened.

A long line of supporters took over the public comment portion of the meeting, and when time ran out, the patience of the board did too.

Board members retreated to a closed door meeting, and police were there shortly after. Which is nothing what superintendent Terry Urquhart expected as he described the meeting.

"Action packed. Lot of frustration on the teachers' part, we heard what they had to say and we're going to listen to them."

He says the negotiations have been normally civil, and there's still a lot to work through.

"We've had actually a couple good meetings," says Urquhart, "but you wouldn't know that from tonight's meeting."

The school is waiting on fact-finding information that should be completed by the middle of February. Urquhart claims negotiations will resume once that's finished.

Whether or not a resolution is found, teachers say they'll still be at school, no matter what.

"Regardless of whether we have a contract or not, we're going to put 110% into these kids every day," smiles Kochheiser.