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Board, Hays-NEA team reach potential agreement





The Hays USD 489 Board of Education/administration negotiating team and the Hays-NEA bargaining team reached a tentative agreement Tuesday afternoon.

During prior meetings, tentative agreement on other negotiated points was reached, but salary and health insurance remained unresolved.

The district's contract for health insurance with the state plan expires at the end of the calendar year, and the board and employees looked at health care options.

The district hired consultant Julie Yarmer to guide the process.

She presented options at a special board meeting last week.

"The state plan is stable," said Kim Schneweis, Hays-NEA bargaining unit co-chairwoman. "We know the rate's not going to go up next year."

The Hays-NEA team members asked to continue with the state plan, and the board's negotiating team agreed.

Union representatives previously had asked for horizontal and vertical movement on the salary schedule, as well as a cost-of-living raise.

Board representatives remained firm in their offer of a $220,000 increase for teacher salaries.

"There's no additional dollars, but our offer is, we're willing to give horizontal movement and increase each grid box by $670 per box," said Greg Schwartz, board president and member of the board's negotiating team.

After a brief caucus, the Hays-NEA bargaining team agreed to the amount.

"It is something we'd be willing to present to the teachers for ratification vote," Schneweis said.

Any agreements made by the negotiating teams must be ratified by the bargaining unit and approved by the board of education before taking effect.

Schneweis said a bargaining unit vote could come in a few weeks.

The board would vote soon after, Schwartz said.