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School board to discuss budget cuts

4/13/2014

By JUDY SHERARD

jsherard@dailynews.net

The USD 489 Board of Education will take up a full slate of issues — many of them related to school finances and the budget — at its work session at 6:30 p.m. Monday in the Toepfer Board Room in Rockwell Administration Center, 323 W. 12th.

Budget issues have been a recurring discussion as the school district looks for ways to make up a $1.3 million shortfall expected in next year’s budget.

Staff cuts through non-renewal of certified staff and attrition in classified staff — currently totaling just under 20 positions — is expected to reap the largest savings, approximately $973,000, according to district officials.

The board also will discuss increasing workbook/materials fees, reducing transportation services or charging fees to students who live within 2.5 miles of an attendance center.

Tracy Kaiser, business manager, will review costs for Hays Middle School and Hays High School sports and activities and pay-to-participate options.

An $11,736 reduction in the athletic budget was included on a recent budget reductions list.

Superintendent Dean Katt said that number might include reducing the “number of assistant coaches and the number of middle school games.”

The school finance bill passed by the Legislature, and on its way to Gov. Sam Brownback for approval, won’t provide much additional money, Katt said.

A $14 increase in the base state aid per pupil and changes in the local option budget could bring a slight increase.

“That’s a total $85,000 our budget could increase,” he said.

Katt will give the board an update on options for increasing the local option budget.

If approved by the governor, the bill included some changes regarding how capital outlay funds can be spent.

“There’s no new money, but it would free up some money in the general fund. It would mean less to spend on infrastructure,” Katt said.

Based on past guidelines, district officials hoped to get new facilities weighting money for the middle school addition.

A change in the school finance bill means “we’re not qualified for new facilities weighting,” Katt said.

Only new facilities paid for with bonds will qualify under the new rules, he said. 

The Hays district is paying its share of the project being built with some Federal Emergency Management Agency funds out of the capital outlay budget.

Other work session discussion topics include:

• Reviewing candidates’ applications to fill Darren Schumacher’s unexpired term on the board.

• Information about a district safety committee.

• Update on a district organization chart.

• The 2014-15 Lewis Field lease agreement and swimming pool contract with The Center for Health Improvement.

• Agenda for the board retreat, which is April 26.