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Committee's composition raises concerns

By JUDY SHERARD

jsherard@dailynews.net

The USD 489 Facilities Needs Committee discussed the committee's composition Friday morning.

The committee was asked to make a recommendation to the board of education for immediate and long-term strategies to address facility needs.

With committee member Josh Waddell's election to the board, there is a voting majority of the board's decision-makers on the committee if the recommendation comes after the July board meeting.

Darren Schumacher, board president; Greg Schwartz, board vice president, and board member James Leiker also serve on the committee.

Other committee members are Bryce Young, chief operating officer at Hays Medical Center, and Patrick Lowry, editor and publisher at The Hays Daily News, co-chairs; Paul Briseno, Hays assistant city manager, Tammy Wellbrock, Hays Area Chamber of Commerce executive director; Tom Drees, Ellis County district attorney; Aaron White, Ellis County Coalition for Economic Development executive director; Todd Powell, Fort Hays State University general counsel/executive assistant to the president; Nick Schwien, Hays Daily News chief copy editor, and Brian Weimer, account executive at IPI Financial Services. Some of the committee members also serve on school site councils.

Schumacher appointed the current committee in November, and it will be up to the next president to make any changes to the committee after the board reorganizes in July.

"As we get into July, we'll have four board members ... one member is going to have to come off. Do we want to do that at that time, or do we want to appoint another committee member now, so they can be part of the process," Schumacher said.

"Waiting until July is going to be too late. They will be missing too much information," Briseno said of appointing a new member.

"The perception is three (board) members aren't going to be part of the discussion. If the four people who are on the committee like the idea of where this is going, the reality is they (non-committee board members) couldn't join in the conversation," Lowry said.

Other board members and the community can attend, and board member Marty Patterson and member-elect Lance Bickle each have attended a couple of committee meetings, but aren't committee members.

Schumacher said the board will discuss the issue at its work session at 6:30 p.m. Monday in the Toepfer Board Room at the Rockwell Administration Center, 323 W. 12th Street.

Committee meetings also are at 7 a.m. in the Toepfer Board Room on most Fridays.