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April election changes composition of USD 489 board


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Three new members were elected in April to the Hays USD 489 Board of Education.

Lance Bickle, Josh Waddell and Danielle Robben, who recently married and is now Danielle Lang, took their seats July 1.

They joined incumbents Greg Schwartz, who was elected BOE president, Darren Schumacher, elected BOE vice president Marty Patterson and James Leiker.

All three new members said their short time on the board has been, and continues to be, a learning experience.

"There are always new policies and Legislature to try and keep up on, improvements in the district, as well as always trying to get your arms around the budget," Bickle said.

Waddell said he focused his attention on finances and the district's operations.

"I  figured that in order to get a grasp on the school district, then I better understand  where the money comes from, how it is placed into specific funds and how the money serves to drive our district operations."

Lang advised prospective board candidates to ask questions, including contacting incumbent board members, and to get as much information as possible.

"The only way to become comfortable was to dive right in and take any information offered."

Communication is key to building and maintaining relationships, Waddell said.

Lang said it came as a surprise how much time the volunteer position takes.

"This first year has been a busy time for the board and district, but for all the right reasons."

Bickle said he knew there would be tough decisions.

"Unfortunately, the right decisions are not always popular with everyone," he said.

All of the new board members are optimistic about the district's future.

"I believe in our ability to overcome any obstacle and emerge stronger than ever," Waddell said.  

"I know the road has been a bit bumpy at times, but things are starting to smooth out. And remember, we are all working for the same thing ... to give our kids the best education we can," Bickle said.