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USD 489 sees many changes in 2013

12/22/2013

A look at some of the top stories from northwest Kansas in 2013.

By JUDY SHERARD

jsherard@dailynews.net

Changes in leadership, board of education policy revisions and an organizational overhaul -- as well as budget issues -- have characterized Hays USD 489 this year.

The two top central office administrators -- superintendent and deputy superintendent -- retired. One of those positions was filled and two new ones created.

Mark Hauptman, assistant superintendent for special services, was the only central office administrator from last year's team who's still with the district.

Former superintendent Will Roth announced he would retire July 2014, then was asked by the board to move his retirement date to Oct. 1, 2013.

Dean Katt, who resigned as Ottawa superintendent in March, was hired in August as interim superintendent. The board of education voted Dec. 9 to make the position permanent.

Former deputy superintendent Richard Cain, the administrator responsible for the district's finances, also retired Sept. 1.

The school board eliminated the deputy superintendent position after Cain left, opting instead to hire a business manager with experience in management and human relations.

Tracy Kaiser, who expects to finish her master's of business administration at Fort Hays State University this month, was hired to fill the position.

The district hasn't had a curriculum director since 2010. The board at that time eliminated the position in a cost-saving measure when Roth, who was assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction, was named superintendent following former Superintendent Fred Kaufman's retirement in 2010.

The board named Shanna Dinkel, former Hays Middle School assistant principal, as interim director of curriculum.

Shannon Demel, former Washington Elementary School teacher, was hired to fill Dinkel's spot for the year.

Brian Drennon recently was hired as the district's technology director after Todd Bryant resigned in August.

The district also is facing budget issues. There is a shortfall after enrollment failed to meet projected growth.

The budget submitted to the state was inflated by 90 FTE (full-time equivalent students).

The difference in students results in $546,531 less in the general fund and $189,377 less in the local-option budget, also based on projected enrollment, than was published, Katt said earlier this year.

Special education funds are down, but administrators might have found ways to make up that difference.

According to preliminary findings, if some costs such as electricity have been inflated, and the $395,000 contingency fund is depleted, the district might be able to shave $564,000 off the budget, Katt said.