School officials in central Iowa have reached a nearly $1 million settlement with a former employee who alleged he was wrongfully fired after reporting improper conduct by a high-ranking district officer.
The Waukee Board of Education unanimously approved the settlement with former Human Resources Director Terry Welker on Monday, the Des Moines Register reported.
“To pursue this further isn’t good for our district. It’s not good for our students or for our teachers,” said Board President Susan Bunz. “While I feel very confident saying we don’t agree with many of the accusations, we know that this is the best option under the circumstances.”
The school board eliminated Welker’s position in July amid budget cuts. Welker alleged he was terminated after he reported the district’s Chief Operating Officer Eric Rose to administrators.
A district investigation found that Rose mismanaged money, abused authority and violated policies. Investigators discovered that Rose had fabricated employee time cards, used school property for personal purposes and solicited money from district vendors for his son’s hockey team. Rose is the district’s fourth highest-paid employee.
Welker served as a key source for investigators and provided details of Rose’s misconduct from a “diary” he kept, that dated back to September 2015.
In the “diary,” Welker wrote about employees saying they were allegedly advised not to speak about Rose to human resources or the school board by administrators.
The district doesn’t admit wrongdoing in the settlement.
Bunz said that Welker’s settlement money will be diverted from the management budget, not from teachers or students.
Two other wrongful termination lawsuits against the district are ongoing, which could result in additional settlement agreements.
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