Discussion at Wednesday’s negotiation meeting between the Hays USD 489 Board of Education and Hays-NEA bargaining team focused on accumulated sick time and paid leave time for teachers and other professionals employed by the school district.

But before the group settled on that topic, board member Lance Bickle began the meeting with a list of proposals.

Bargaining team co-chairwoman Kim Schneweis said the list included items that weren’t in the board’s notice letter to the union.

Schneweis said the bargaining team was told the board wouldn’t negotiate due process for teachers last year because it wasn’t in their notice letter.

“We’re working on the notice letter. There’s no obligation to address those things if they weren’t on the notice letter,” she said of the board‘s new proposals.

“I guess I’m looking at it we’re trying to work at this as a team,” Bickle said. “They’re just proposals; it’s not like they’re set in stone.”

Bickle suggested the team look at the items which included severance pay, rehires and contacting board members, and see if there were any they’d like to discuss.

Zach Butte, H-NEA team member, presented a proposal from the district’s leave committee.

The committee has developed a three-tier system for paying staff for unused accumulated sick leave.

“Tier one was (developed) to help those employees that still have that availability and right to be able to use their severance pay as a part of their last three years of average salary upon retirement in that lump sum payment — those in KPERS prior to July 1, 1993,” Butte said.

That group would receive $65 per day for all accumulated sick leave in excess of 20 days.

Those in tier two who entered KPERS after July 1, 1993, would have a 100-day cap, minus the first 20 days. They would be paid $65 per day, with a limit of 50 days or $3,250 for the first year, and for 26 days, 15 days plus the 11 accrued for the new year, the second year for a total of $1,690.

Tier three employees would receive $55 per day for those more than 100.

Butte said that would cut some of the district’s unfunded liability for accumulated sick leave while “trying to maintain that nobody is getting the rug ripped out from under them.”

Both groups signed off on the concept of paid time off, but opinions differed on the number of days or what would be covered.

Union representatives favored including a separate leave pool or extended PTO for bereavement and serious illness leave for relatives.

Board member Greg Schwartz said the school district has to track the bereavement and sickness leave.

“It helps us that we don’t have to go start having all these different classifications of leave. We have one leave pool. Everything comes out of that,” he said.

No decision is final until approved by the Hays-NEA bargaining unit and the board of education.

The negotiators meet again at 5 p.m. Tuesday in the Toepfer Board Room, 323 W. 12th.