USD 489 budget shortfall not as bad as first expected
By JUDY SHERARD
The Hays USD 489 budget news isn't as dire as first expected, but the district still will have to look for ways to save.
Though the published budget anticipated more than 140 new students, former administrators built the budget expecting an increase of just 45 students, interim superintendent Dean Katt told the board of education Monday night.
"Right now, it looks like a decrease based on 39 students because enrollment increased by five or six students, so the district is $149,000 short," he said.
That's less than the $546,000 possible shortfall mentioned last week.
With that in mind, the board continued discussion with no resolution on two big ticket items -- improvements to Victory Road at O'Loughlin Elementary School and replacing the chiller at Roosevelt Elementary School.
Vice President Darren Schumacher said Father Daryl Olmstead called him after the discussion of options for Victory Road at last week's work session. Schumacher asked what the Thomas More Prep-Marian High School board that owns Victory Road "would like to see from us. He said they're requesting that all of Victory Road be redone and paid for by us."
Board architect Terry Ault said he thinks TMP has an estimate of $138,000 to repair the entire road.
If USD 489 pays to repair the road, the money would come from the capital outlay budget, Katt said.
"There's things that have to happen, but there's things that could be put off" in that budget.
The board could prioritize "what you want to do, and what doesn't get done this year," he said.
The board wants to schedule a joint meeting with TMP officials to work out details or ask their representatives to attend a district meeting before moving forward.
"I want some assurances that we don't go in and resurface the entire road, and then six months or six years (later), have no access or use to it," Board President Greg Schwartz said.
Discussion of the Roosevelt chiller also raised questions from the board.
Board member Lance Bickle said he was confused about the option of buying a rebuilt unit now being considered.
"When we first talked about this issue, we were told beyond a shadow of a doubt that there were no options for this."
The board voted last summer to rent temporary units costing $30,000 to $35,000.
"We could get a refurbished (unit) for that," Bickle said. "We've already spent or wasted $30,000 or $35,000 that could have went towards this if we'd had this information up front."
"We found there are remanufactured compressors available," Ault said. "It's just how much economic sense that would make to put one on."
The board voted 5-1 to ask for bids for a 100-ton compressor with a rebuilt unit.
Marty Patterson, who wanted to include a new unit in the bid process, voted against the motion. Josh Waddell was absent.
In other business, the board:
* Tabled generating discussion of personality traits for the superintendent search.
* Authorized the president to sign the interim director of curriculum's contract.
* Approved readings for changes to board policy in recruiting and hiring, administrative personnel and negotiations.
* Accepted resignations from Haley Charles, Washington Elementary ELL para; Deanna Gray and Chelsea Beisner, Hays High special-ed paras; and Kimberly Ball, Hays Middle School accompanist.
* Approved intra-district transfer of Andrea Herreman, Washington special-ed para.
* Approved employment for Haley Charles, Westside special-ed para; Jill Dennis, Lincoln/Holy Family Elementary special ed para; Debbie Handle, Hays High special-ed para; Anna Vap, O'Loughlin Elementary lunchroom supervisor; Russell Berry, Wilson Elementary night custodian; and Brenda Soto, Washington ELL para.