Purchase photos

USD 489 might face budget shortfall





Final enrollment numbers are in, and the Hays USD 489 budget could come up short.

The full-time equivalent enrollment of 2,830.2 is 90 students fewer than the projected 2,920 FTE, Dean Katt, interim superintendent, reported at Monday's USD 489 board of education work session.

The difference in students results in $546,531 less revenue than the published general fund budget.

The local-option budget revenue, also based on projected enrollment, is $189,377 less than what was published.

Since none of the numbers are final until an audit is made by the Kansas Department of Education, Katt said he's going to ask for an early audit.

"I don't want to make it sound like we're going to have to cut $735,000."

When the budget was prepared by former deputy superintendent Richard Cain, he "probably used about half of what they over-projected."

Katt plans to meet with Cain this week and find out how the budget was built for the year.

After that, Katt said he will suggest options for cuts. Some cuts, such as capital outlay items that were budgeted for but not approved, already have been considered.

Board member Lance Bickle asked what accounted for the difference in numbers.

"I know they had formulas and used these things to project enrollment, and it just didn't happen," Katt said of the enrollment growth.

Board members also discussed the superintendent search. Separate focus groups for teachers, administrators, classified staff and some community members likely will meet with Kansas Association of School Board facilitators in November.

An update from district architect Terry Ault on Victory Road resulted in a request for more cost estimates and an additional meeting with Thomas More Prep-Marian Junior Senior High School officials.

President Greg Schwartz was absent, and vice president Darren Schumacher presided. Danielle Robben also was absent.