Kaiser takes on new challenge at USD 489
By JUDY SHERARD
Tracy Kaiser isn't just new to the job of Hays USD 489 business manager, the job itself is new.
In August, the school board voted to search for a business manager with experience in management and human relations. Former Deputy Superintendent Richard Cain handled those tasks before his retirement Sept. 1.
Kaiser was one of three candidates interviewed by a committee for the position, said Dean Katt, interim superintendent.
Kaiser's personable, he said, and brings to the position an extensive human resources background, including personnel management and budget experience.
Though the job description mentions finance, budget and accounting, the day-to-day responsibilities are a work in progress, Kaiser said.
"Dean and I (are) figuring out what our strengths are and building the job from there," she said.
Challenges appeared from the outset. Lower-than-expected enrollment figures are projected to trim approximately $150,000 from anticipated state revenues.
Kaiser expects to finish her master's of business administration in December.
Before being hired by the school district, she was human resources director at Trego County-Lemke Memorial Hospital in WaKeeney.
"I wasn't actively looking for a position until I saw this," she said.
As the school finance aspects of the job become clearer, Kaiser expects to begin looking at the district's human resources processes and retention rates.
With no experience in school finance, she knows there's a lot to learn but sees that a possible advantage.
She has a "fresh set of eyes and brings to the district the ability to look at some things differently -- because it is new to me -- and ask those important questions of why are we doing it this way, and should we continue to do it this way."
Kaiser went to middle and high school in Russell County.
A Fort Hays State University graduate, she has lived in Hays for more than 20 years.
She and her husband, Tom, who works for the U.S. Post Office, have two children. Trey is a sophomore at Hays High School, and Tate is a fifth-grade student at Lincoln Elementary School.
Kaiser retired a few years ago from playing Hays Recreation Commission softball, but the rest of the family still is involved in HRC activities. Trey and Tate participate in orchestra, choir and school sports.
"She is doing a tremendous job for us, and we are glad to have her on board," Katt said.