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BOE names Katt superintendent

12/10/2013

By JUDY SHERARD

jsherard@dailynews.net

Hays USD 489 Interim Superintendent Dean Katt will be staying around for a while.

Following a 30-minute executive session that included Kansas Association of School Boards consultant Max Heim, the board of education voted to make Katt's position permanent.

He will be paid a base annual salary of $147,456.

The board hired KASB in October to conduct a superintendent search on its behalf.

"Based on the observations that we've made working with the Hays district, we've concluded that the current board is very happy with the present superintendent," Heim said. "And the current superintendent is very happy with the board. Given those two facts, the board might seriously consider offering full-time employment to the current superintendent and terminate the search."

Board President Greg Schwartz said Heim met with the board last month in executive session.

At that time, Heim recommended since Katt met most, if not all, of the board's qualifications for a new superintendent, the board stop the search and offer Katt the position.

"It's our view, based on that, you just as well finalize it and move on, but of course that's your decision," Heim said.

Schwartz said Katt expressed interest in the permanent position when the board discussed it with him in executive session. Another executive session was spent talking about contract terms.

Once those were agreed upon, board attorney Bill Jeter was asked to draft the contract.

"This isn't something the board entered into lightly," Schwartz said.

"In talking with a number of parents, staff, teachers (about Katt), I've heard nothing but positive," James Leiker said.

Board vice president Darren Schumacher agreed.

"I too am very comfortable moving forward making him our permanent superintendent."

"A lot of stuff was going on when you came in," Lance Bickle said. "You hit the ground running and haven't looked back. ... We appreciate the job you've done so far and look forward to working with you in the future."

Schwartz said Katt's done a good job so far, but still has work ahead of him.

"I'm here to see it through," Katt said.

Marty Patterson asked about a cost-savings in suspending the search.

Heim said KASB would charge an hourly rate for the time spent.

There would be a savings from the original $5,850, plus expenses, charged, but it wouldn't be substantial, he said.

The board had a second executive session for 15 minutes that included the board, Jeter, Katt and business manager Tracy Kaiser to discuss non-elected personnel.

In other business, the board:

* Heard an update from Hays High School Principal Marty Straub on revisions to the curriculum guide for 2014-15.

* Approved the Smart Goals as developed at the board retreat.

* Approved the second reading of eliminating the second reading for developing and modifying policy. The board will discuss policy changes at a work session before any policy change is voted on, Bickle said.

* Approved having the board president sign the ratified Hays-NEA master collective bargaining agreement rather than the superintendent, as earlier noted.

* Accepted resignations from Mary Comer, HHS special-ed para; Kileigh Cure, Hays Middle School assistant track coach; Travis Reece, HHS computer tech; Brenda Lager, Early Childhood Connections teacher/family assistant; and Breanna Ryan, Learning Center childcare assistant.

* Approved termination of work agreement for Hector Ramos, O'Loughlin Elementary School ELL para.

* Approved employment for Brian Drennon, technology director; Trevor Henningsen, ECC part-time teacher assistant; Devin Dykema, assistant cook; Brianna Salshury, ECC teacher/family assistant; Komoss Creamer, HHS assistant cheer coach; Chris Michaelis, HHS winter events manager; and Ashley Hoover, La Crosse Elementary School special ed para.