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BOE agrees to not televise sessions

8/12/2014

By JUDY SHERARD

By JUDY SHERARD

jsherard@dailynews.net

The format of Hays USD 489 Board of Education work sessions isn't changing, including the board's decision not to televise them to the general public, but the location could change each time.

Board members' opinions on televising were divided.

"I think it helps us more than it hurts us," Greg Schwartz said.

Board Vice President Marty Patterson opposes televising work sessions "because of the audience. They'll come up here, and sit at the table and talk to us. There's a lot of people that won't come and say their piece with the cameras rolling."

Lance Bickle said he could see both sides.

There might not be as much discussion if the work sessions are televised, he said..

"On the other hand, we continue to get hammered about not being transparent," he said.

"A lot of times, this is where discussion goes on rather than at the board meetings," Josh Waddell said. "So a lot of times, maybe people are missing out on a lot of good conversation."

He later advocated for not televising work sessions, saying opening up communication outweighs other things.

Danielle Lang asked if having people come and talk to the board had been promoted.

BOE President James Leiker said he's in favor of televising the work sessions "unless we start publicizing pretty heavy."

"Let's not televise at this time, but publicize it's the place for people to come talk to us," Sarah Rankin said.

"I think the key is to allow people to have input on issues," Schwartz said.

Patterson suggested the board host work sessions at each of the district's schools. The meetings would start earlier, with a tour of the building, followed by the work session in the library.

"That would throw a spotlight on the school," Rankin said.

Administrators will prepare a schedule of work session locations.

Shanna Dinkel, curriculum director, updated the board on enrollment numbers. Early estimates based on enrollment are approximately 2,840 students.

"It's too soon to tell" what the final numbers will be, Dinkel said.

Superintendent Dean Katt said the theme for the district this year is Building on the Best.

"It builds on what we've done in the past that's been very, very good," Katt said.

The work session concluded with a 15-minute executive session with Katt, Dinkel, Assistant Superintendent of Special Services Mark Hauptman, Executive Director of Finance Tracy Kaiser and board attorney Bill Jeter to discuss negotiations and non-elected personnel.