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BOE approves contracts for teachers




Hays USD 489 teachers have a contract.

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Hays USD 489 teachers have a contract.

Board of education members voted 4-0 Monday night, the third day of school, to approve the tentative terms of the contract ratified by the teachers last week.

Three board members, board vice president Marty Patterson, Josh Waddell and Greg Schwartz, were absent.

Sarah Rankin asked why it was called tentative terms.

The tentative agreement refers to what the "respective bargaining teams agreed to at the bargaining table," board attorney Bill Jeter said.

The teachers vote was 156-37, with one abstention.

"They overwhelmingly approved the proposal, and that was the salary completely frozen -- no movement horizontally and vertically," Superintendent Dean Katt said.

It also included adopting the new e4E evaluation system and minor language changes to "clean up the agreement (of) things no longer practical or no longer apply," Katt said.

The agreement applies to all certified staff paid on the USD 489 salary schedule, except administration and occupational and physical therapists, according to the school district.

Katt said committees will be appointed as soon as possible to start the process of looking at the contract as a whole. He was unsure who would serve on the committees, but they would include teachers.

"It's going to take a while," he said.

"Committees we've worked on in the past worked all year," said Kim Schneweis, co-chairwoman of the H-NEA bargaining unit.

"We have something to vote on, and I call that success," Rankin said.

In other business:

* The board had a hearing on the fiscal year 2015 budget.

The total mill levy will be 46.209, down 0.152 from last year's 46.361.

USD 489 expenses total $42,091,649, an increase of $1,773,572 from last year's total of $40,318,077.

Katt reported enrollment numbers at Hays Middle School are up approximately 52 students from last year. Numbers at the elementary and high schools are about the same as last year. Those numbers could fluctuate, he said.

* During public comments, Rhiannon Maier asked the board "to reconsider the busing of the middle school students back out to the local grade schools, so that they can walk home in their local communities. It's not safe for my seventh-grade student to walk home."

Rankin asked if she would pay a fee for bus service.

"What's another fee for her safety?" Maier said.

The district has heard from several concerned parents, Katt said. He told Maier he couldn't promise anything, but the district is going to look at options.

* The board authorized the BOE president to sign the sale contract for the 33rd Street property to John Ziegler for $253,133. The money will go into the capital outlay fund.

* The board approved the job descriptions for district staff, except custodians and maintenance workers. Those will be reviewed first by Rusty Lindsay, director of building and grounds, then brought back to the board.

* The board approved the Kansas Association of School Boards policy updates recommended by Katt.