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BOE cools on bond issue

11/6/2012

By JUDY SHERARD

jsherard@dailynews

The Hays USD 489 Board of Education has slowed the process of putting a bond issue on the April ballot.

The board has spent the past several work sessions meeting with architects and discussing options based on a facilities study.

All of the options being considered would require a bond issue.

At the Oct. 23 work session, Deputy Superintendent Richard Cain recommended the board come to a consensus on a plan before bringing in community members.

The discussion centered on the option to consolidate kindergarten through fourth-grade students into two elementary schools, moving grades five through eight into the current Hays High School building and building a new high school.

Board members asked for revisions to that option, which was estimated at approximately $110 million in renovation and construction costs.

However, some board members said they have heard concerns from constituents about having such large elementary schools.

"The mothers don't want their kids (in a large school). It's the same thing we heard about Kennedy. We had a choice for a smaller junior high," board member Marty Patterson said of consolidating schools.

It isn't the "brick and the mortar; it's what you've got inside in the class size and the dedicated teachers," board member Rich Kraemer said. "We're successful now. If we just move them to a big building, I don't know that we compromise all of the teaching techniques that we've perfected over the years."

The board agreed Monday night to form a committee of community members and board members to consider the architects' options and get input from the community, staff and parents before going ahead with a bond issue.

Superintendent Will Roth suggested the board come up with "some names of people in the community, people with credibility, certainly not a stacked committee, just people that represent all aspects of the community."

Board members were asked to email the names to Roth and Board President Darren Schumacher, and Schumacher will designate a committee to study the district's needs. That committee would bring a recommendation to the board.

After the meeting, Roth and Schumacher said anyone who would like to serve on the committee, but isn't contacted, could submit their name for consideration.

When Schumacher asked, Roth said it isn't likely the district will ask voters to pass a bond at the April election.

Instead, the committee will discuss a possible deadline such as the end of the school year for its recommendation.

"I think they'll probably come to the same conclusion as us, but they may not. They may come back and say we don't need to spend any money," board member Greg Schwartz said.

In other business, the board also discussed putting artificial turf on the Hays High School baseball field and televising work sessions.

No work session will take place Nov. 12. The next board of education meeting is Nov. 19.