Unified School District No.

446, INDEPENDENCE, KANSAS, V. SANDOVAL 286 P.3d 542 (2012)


D began her employment with P on September 1, 2000. During the 2007-08 school year, she taught Spanish. On February 22, 2008, Principal Mitch Shaw informed her that he was recommending the District not renew her teaching contract for the 2008-09. On March 10, 2008, a local Kansas National Education Association (KNEA) leader, Tim Knoles, informed D that Superintendent Chuck Schmidt would be available to talk with her before that evening's board meeting. D met with Schmidt and with her KNEA UniServ Director, Tony White. A UniServ director is employed by KNEA to represent teachers in employment matters. The parties were unable to come to terms at that time. White attended the board meeting that evening. During the course of the meeting, White called D and told her the board had made an offer of paid leave until the end of a disability period but had offered no insurance and no additional financial compensation. D rejected that offer and countered with 180 days of paid leave, medical insurance until she reached the age of 65 and a lump-sum payment of $20,000. White called D again stating that the board had made a counteroffer of 180 days of paid leave to qualify for KPERS disability benefits, which would require her to leave the classroom on March 28, 2008; paid insurance on the bottom tier for 5 years; and a lump-sum payment of $20,000 in the event that she did not qualify for disability benefits. D told White to accept the proposal on her behalf. On March 12, 2008, White received an e-mail draft of a settlement agreement. White sent a reply, suggesting several modifications of the terms. The parties exchanged additional messages relating to the acceptability of the modifications. Later in the day D stated that she had changed her mind and wanted to proceed with a due process hearing. She repeated this information to White on the following day. On April 14, 2008, P adopted a resolution of nonrenewal including a clause reserving the right to enforce the oral agreement that had been arrived at during the March 10 board meeting. After the end of the school term, P sought a declaratory judgment that D had entered into an oral contract governing the terms of her separation. The district court entered an order granting summary judgment to P holding that D had entered into a binding oral contract with P. The Court of Appeals affirmed. This court granted D's petition for review.