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Hays-NEA, BOE reach tentative deal





The Hays USD 489 negotiating team and Hays-NEA bargaining team reached a tentative agreement Tuesday.

If the Hays USD 489 Board of Education approves and Hays teachers sign off on the agreement, little will change in teachers' contracts.

"One thing we definitely agree on is the statement you made last week that we have a good contract," Kim Schneweis, co-chairwoman of the bargaining team, told Superintendent Dean Katt. "Now we think that's a great thing. We think that's the foundation for our strong staff."

There will be no raises.

The tentative agreement calls for a salary freeze, with no horizontal or vertical movement for teachers.

Both sides also agreed to adopt the E4e evaluation tool for evaluating teachers. The agreement includes some contract language changes, such as vesting criteria in the 403(b) plan.

The middle school pep club, dance and cheer sponsors will remain as they are, and gate and game workers' hourly rates won't change.

The two sides didn't agree to add a section outlining fair dismissal of teachers and liquidated damages for late resignations from teachers section to teachers' contracts.

"The board doesn't want to make our contract any better, and we really don't want to make our contract any worse because we feel like we've already taken hits on it the last few years," Schneweis said.

Katt said several items in the contract need work, and the two groups need to form committees to work on them.

"I really want to get a long-range plan here so we can look at raises and inservice and supplies, and all of those things that we need to be funding," Katt said. "It's going to take everybody involved in that."

Schneweis agreed the board and teachers need to work together and said she was disappointed when the board voted to eliminate interest-based bargaining from board policy.

"I thought our interest-based bargaining was very productive," Schneweis said of negotiations.