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BOE faces $200,000 shortfall

1/21/2014

By JUDY SHERARD

By JUDY SHERARD

jsherard@dailynews.net

Even after draining the $395,000 contingency fund, the Hays USD 489 budget will be more than $200,000 short.

Superintendent Dean Katt said at Monday night's work session business manager Tracy Kaiser and Cheryl Shubert, director of accounting and BOE clerk, have worked through most of the budget.

Katt reported in October the district didn't meet enrollment expectations, resulting in a budget shortfall.

And after taking a closer look, administrative staff found several expenses weren't budgeted for this year.

They included seventh-grade sports, the 403(b) plan -- which is more than $60,000 -- and the sick-leave buyout was higher than projected, Katt said.

"Raises that were given at 1.85 (percent) were budgeted at 1 percent."

That accounted for another $200,000 shortfall.

The board wasn't told of the discrepancy between the raises given and the budgeted amount, said Darren Schumacher, BOE vice president.

"You guys made the decisions based on the information you had," Katt said.

Lance Bickle asked why there was a difference in the amounts.

"The budget was written before the raises were approved," Shubert said.

"But the information the board was given was still misleading and incorrect," Schumacher said.

Shubert agreed the budgeted amount should have been changed.

"All these things started a cycle of robbing Peter to pay Paul, putting off paying expenses in one fiscal year into the other," Katt said.

To generate savings to make up the deficit, the administration is asking staff to freeze some spending.

Katt and Kaiser plan to go to each school to outline the spending freeze and answer questions.

Katt said he's already had questions about his position.

He said for one month, he and former superintendent Will Roth both received salaries, but since October, he is the only superintendent being paid by the district.

"My salary is the same as his salary was," Katt said.

"The actual dollar amount paid to you is higher, but the total dollar amount to us is different because of the health insurance," Schwartz said.

"He (Roth) was getting a family health insurance, and we just rolled the savings into salary."