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BOE might cut all-day kindergarten

3/25/2014

By JUDY SHERARD

jsherard@dailynews.net

Hays USD 489 families might have to dig a little deeper into their wallets for the next school year.

Superintendent Dean Katt presented a list of fees and cuts to the board of education at Monday night's work session.

The money is needed to make up the anticipated $1.3 million shortfall in next year's budget.

Some savings could be found in going from all-day kindergarten to half days or charging a fee for the all-day session.

Offering all-day kindergarten instead of the state-mandated half day costs the district $269,000 and requires 12 teachers, Katt said.

Cutting back to half-day classes could mean cutting teachers and savings.

Increased enrollment fees for all students also was on Katt's list to the board.

"Our fees are already high, so I hate to get too carried away and say we're going to raise close to $300,000 in fees, or we're going to be exceptionally high," Katt said.

Katt said his recommendation likely will be "somewhere between a $30 and $40 increase."

Cuts to transportation routes or fees for some who ride the bus could be coming. The district gets transportation weighting money only for those who live at least 2.5 miles from school.

According to figures from Russ Henningsen, USD 489 transportation director, a total of 664 students who live less than 2.5 miles from school and 301 students who live more than 2.5 miles ride the bus to school.

"Right now, if you want to ride a bus, you call transportation. We'll put you on a route," Henningsen said.

The district has four out-of-town routes and eight in-town routes. Henningsen estimates two routes might be cut if the district didn't transport students who live less than 2.5 miles from school.

"I guess it'll be out there now that we're talking about it," board member Marty Patterson said. "People need to come to the next meeting if they have some problems about it."

Other cost-saving efficiencies could mean looking at class sizes, a four-day work week in the summer, raising the local option budget 1 percent and billing nutrition services for the time school secretaries spend on lunch duties.

Darren Schumacher, who has resigned from the board, was recognized. Schumacher, whose term would have ended in 2015, has served on the board since 2007. He was BOE president during the 2012-13 school year and vice president for two terms, in 2011-12 and the current school year.

"He's going to be leaving us and going to Manhattan," Katt said.

The board will begin advertising the vacancy immediately.

Board members decided not to move ahead on the E-rate process for wireless infrastructure at Washington Elementary School.

Katt said the district needs to have a technology plan before making a decision on E-rate.

The board had two executive sessions for 30 minutes each to discuss non-elected personnel with the board, Katt, Mark Hauptman, assistant superintendent of special services, Shanna Dinkel, curriculum director, and board attorney Bill Jeter present.