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District cuts 16 staffers

4/9/2014

By JUDY SHERARD

jsherard@dailynews.net

A total of 16 Hays USD 489 certified staff members will receive notices of non-renewal of their contracts if the Hays USD 489 Board of Education signs off on the administration’s recommendation.

The board will consider voting on non-renewal resolutions at the April 21 meeting.

The 16 staff members represent 13.5 full-time equivalent positions, according to information released by the district.

School principals have been involved in the decision-making process of which positions to cut, he said.

Hays-NEA isn’t involved in the reduction of staff process or decision-making, except to make sure the district follows the contract language in such cases, and administrators have worked with the union in that, Kathy Wagoner, Hays-NEA bargaining unit co-chairwoman, said last week.

With the expected staff cuts, class sizes are predicted to be 21.65 at the elementary level and in the core classes, 25.4 in the middle school and 23.35 at the high school

Those receiving non-renewal notices aren’t the only ones.

“To make this work, transfers and things take place,” USD 489 Superintendent Dean Katt said.

Katt said he thought everyone, those whose positions are being cut and those being transferred, had been notified.

The cuts, expected to add $973,000 to the budget, are part of the district’s plan to eliminate a $1.3 million shortfall next year.

Classified positions also have been eliminated through attrition, and additional reductions could be coming, according to a news release.

In all, a total of 19.9 positions — certified and classified — are being eliminated in the district, Katt said.

Four positions are being eliminated at the elementary level, 3.5 positions at the middle school, 5.1 positions at the high school and 7.3 positions of those who work in more than one building in the district. Those numbers are positions eliminated, not necessarily the number of people who received notices.

The numbers could change as district officials look at the number of support staff needed, as well as resignations and retirements of support staff.

“It’s a matter of patience,” Katt said of the process.

The district expects to make other budget reductions for the 2015 fiscal year.

Other staff related reductions on the list include $63,800 for reducing extended days and extra duties, and $70,000 after reorganizing the English Language Learners staff. A four-day summer work week for year-round staff could net $20,000 in utility savings.

Other items on that reduction list include a savings of $65,000 in consulting fees, reducing athletics costs by $11,736, licensing and software costs by $55,200 and restructuring project adventure at $14,000.     

The board also is looking at fees to help make up the deficit. Students who live within 2.5 miles of an attendance center could be charged a $150 transportation fee, adding $49,800 to the budget. Workbook/material fees might be increased by $30 for an additional $53,000.

Katt said decisions about those reductions and fee increases would come from the board.