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USD 489 school board still looking for ways to reduce costs





The 2014-15 school year budget dominates the list of discussion items for the Hays USD 489 Board of Education work session at 6:30 p.m. Monday in the Toepfer Board Room in Rockwell Administration Center, 323 W. 12th.

Enrollment, kindergarten, participation and transportation fees are on the list.

Superintendent Dean Katt said last week he would like to get board input on a list of possible reductions and fees.

The district is anticipating a $1.3 million budget shortfall next year. Already approved staff cuts are expected to save approximately $975,000.

Board members have discussed transportation options at recent meetings.

Suggestioned options vary from continuing the current city and rural route system to operating no bus routes and paying reimbursement "only to those required by state statute," BOE president Greg Schwartz said last month.

Both public and private school students are transported, Katt said.

"We have to, by (state) statute, transport both public and private (school students) ... My kids go to private school, and contrary to what's been spread out there, we didn't cut any side deals so they could get bused. This is state statute," Schwartz said.

Even if the board votes to eliminate routes, some shuttles will continue during the day, Katt said.

Trips such as "taking the Westside (Alternative School) students, they don't have a cafeteria there, so we take them to a different school to eat," will be needed, business manager Tracy Kaiser said.

Other items on the meeting's discussion list include:

* An update on the school district's wireless infrastructure plan and the wireless needs in the Hays Middle School addition.

* Replacing outgoing members on the Hays Recreation Commission.

* Filling a vacant school nurse position.

* The agenda for a planned board planning retreat.

* Local option budget election.

* Options for selling the district's property on 33rd Street.