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489, teachers can't bridge money divide

7/24/2013

By JUDY SHERARD

jsherard@dailynews.net

Despite tentative agreements on a laundry list of items, the Hays-NEA bargaining team and the Hays USD 489 district negotiating team remain at odds over money.

The negotiating groups met Tuesday afternoon.

The board of education offer is to add $160,000 to the salary schedule, Superintendent Will Roth said.

"That amount won't even cover horizontal and vertical movement on the salary schedule," said Kathy Wagoner, Hays-NEA bargaining unit co-chairwoman.

After a caucus, the bargaining unit declined the district's offer.

Wagoner estimated the district saved $446,000 through attrition -- not filling vacant positions.

Roth said his estimate was $401,000.

"There's almost $500,000 in attrition money, and we're only seeing $160,000 of it, and basically we're seeing no raises whatsoever," said Kim Schneweis, Hays-NEA bargaining unit co-chairwoman.

Following a second caucus, the union representatives countered with $450,000, added to the salary schedule for returning staff.

Greg Schwartz, board president, said he was unlikely to vote for that amount.

"There's not money to do what you're proposing," he said.

The inability to agree on raises means the 2012-13 contract remains in effect until a new one is ratified by the bargaining unit and approved by the board of education.

Last year's contract required Hays High teachers to teach six classes, and they used 14 minutes of contract time before and after school for class time with students to meet that requirement.

After that schedule proved unsatisfactory, the negotiating teams tentatively agreed to revise the schedule for the 2013-14. In that schedule, teachers would teach six classes, but students will have seven classes in the former 90-minute class block schedule.

However, that schedule won't be approved until the two groups agree on a contract.

"We could not change all the teachers' schedules at Hays High without giving them a chance to vote on it," Schneweis said.

The next negotiations meeting is 4:30 p.m. Aug. 6 at Rockwell Administration Center, 323 W. 12th.