'Trust' topic at retreat
By JUDY SHERARD
The Hays USD 489 Board of Education hosted a round table discussion with central office administrators, building principals and directors at the board's six-hour retreat Tuesday evening.
Principals gave an overview of the school year and outlined how recent staff cuts will affect each building.
Other topics discussed included free and reduced lunches, teacher evaluations, technology, communication and trust.
Hays High School Principal Marty Straub brought up the importance of trust in the district.
"Besides parents, there is probably no one more invested in any one building than the principal, and the buck stops there," Straub said.
"When I hear about the mistrust the teachers have from the board, we've got to make sure it's not happening at this level," Sarah Rankin said.
"Because if it is, we've got a deeper culture problem than I thought we did."
"Don't any of you ever not say something to us because you're scared of us," Marty Patterson said.
BOE president Greg Schwartz said some of the trust issues have come about because board members have been "told we can't do this. It won't work. It won't happen, and then we find out it can work."
As a new board member, Lance Bickle said he "was almost gun shy. Much of the information we were given was incorrect. It's tough to rebuild that trust just because we'd been given so much bad information."
The district has lacked centralized leadership, including human resources, payroll and curriculum in the past, Schwartz said.
"The goal is to have a more organized, more professionalized approach," he said.
"There are positive things in the district," said Assistant Superintendent of Special Services Mark Hauptman. "We need to heal. We need to move forward."