Wayland agrees on new teacher contract

Virginia Ransbottom, Staff Writer

Wayland Union Schools ratified a teacher’s contract during the school board meeting Monday, Oct. 13, but released no details of what was included in the new bargaining agreement.

Superintendent Norman Taylor said a joint statement with the Wayland Union Education Association was being worked on and would be released at a later date. The teacher contract ran out on Aug. 31 and an agreement was finally made at a special meeting on Oct. 9.

Another contract is on hold pending the outcome of a civil suit filed against the community police officer being hired by the city of Wayland and shared with the school eight months of the year. A background check on Bernard Austhof revealed a pending case filed by Jeronimo Fiero-Soto in Maricopa County, Ariz., where Austhof was named as one of the arresting officers with the Phoenix Police Department.

The suit claims Fiero-Soto’s civil rights were violated when officers arrested him and allegedly used excessive force. Fiero-Soto is seeking $3 million, according to Public Access to Court Electronic Records. The case was initially dismissed; however, an amended suit was filed.

Taylor said the school board would not sign the city contract to hire the officer until a decision has been made on the merit of the civil suit.

“In the meantime he still has a lot of training and tests to take,” said Taylor.

Current school security officer Harry Werkema’s retirement was officially announced at the board meeting. Taylor said Werkema will stay on to help with transitioning security.

For full story, pick up a copy of the Oct. 16 issue of The Allegan County News or subscribe to the e-edition.

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