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Board retains fee increases

7/22/2014

By JUDY SHERARD

By JUDY SHERARD

jsherard@dailynews.net

Despite a failed motion to retain them, an earlier decision to raise fees at USD 489 will stand.

The board of education at last week's work session asked to have a discussion of the fee increase approved in May placed on Monday night's agenda.

The board previously approved a $60 increase to the workbook/enrollment fee to $160 per student and a $50 activity fee increase for Hays Middle School and Hays High School students for one year.

Middle school students will pay $62 and high school students $66 in activity fees for the next school year.

Kindergarten students will be assessed a $150 fee.

Jeremy McGuire, parent of two middle school students and a third-grader, addressed the board about the increased fees during the audience participation segment.

"Just with workbook fees and activity fees, it's going to cost us $604," he said. "I think it's high."

McGuire said he compared his costs for USD 489 fees to other similarly sized districts' fees, and USD 489 fees were at least $300 higher.

"If those other school districts can do it (have lower fees), why can't we do it?"

"There are a lot of parents out there feeling the pinch that you're feeling," board member Sarah Rankin told McGuire. "One hundred dollars for an enrollment fee is very high, and to raise it over 50 percent is difficult."

Superintendent Dean Katt said he agreed that the fees are to high, but recommended the board maintain the fee increases.

Workbook/enrollment fees will go into a textbook revolving account to offset the costs of teachers' supplies paid out of the general fund.

"If we don't approve the increased fees, our budget is very tight, and what we're going to end up doing is taking expenses out of the capital outlay fund which I'd rather not (do)" he said.

Board member Greg Schwartz said the goal is to balance the budget next year.

"We're still borrowing from Peter to pay Paul. We quit borrowing from the special ed fund; now we're doing it from capital outlay."

"As a parent and a taxpayer, I have to support staying with the fees," board member Josh Waddell said.

Even though it was listed for discussion, a motion was made to accept the administration's recommendation to retain the fee increase.

The motion failed 3-2. At least four votes are needed to pass a board of education motion no matter how many members are in attendance.

Schwartz and Lance Bickle voted against, and board president James Leiker and Danielle Lang were absent. Vice president Marty Patterson presided over the meeting.

Board attorney Bill Jeter said the already approved increased fees will remain in effect.

A 65-minute executive session to discuss negotiations followed the meeting.

In other business

* The board accepted a bid of $253,133 from John Ziegler for the 33rd Street property. The money will go into the capital outlay fund.

* The board accepted the milk bid from Highland Dairy.

* The board accepted a bid from Academic SuperStore for $24,174.52 for Microsoft licensing.

* The board approved a certifications program agreement with North Central Kansas Technical College.

* The board accepted a bid from Kansas Association of School Boards for workers compensation with a $2,500 deductible.

* The board accepted a bid from Insurance Planning Inc. for multi-peril insurance with a $5,000 deduction on property and a $3,000 deduction on automobiles.

* Two items on the agenda -- the annual waiver of requirements for general accepted accounting principals and televising work sessions -- were tabled.

* Jeff Jordan, FHSU music professor and parent, addressed the board about pay to play, elective classes such as band, choir and orchestra and extra-curricular activities.

* The board accepted resignations from Debbie Handle, Hays High School special ed para; Alyssa Crawford, Ellis High School para; Sandra Frost, floating cook, and Amanda Grant, O'Loughlin Elementary School computer lab aide.

The board approved the transfer of Anna Schonthaler from ELL para to Lincoln Elementary School fourth-grade teacher.

Approved employment of Meribel Osorio Scott, Washington Elementary migrant parent liaison; Kim Fletcher, pre-school para at Hays High; Abigal Powers and Courtney Geist, Roosevelt Elementary School after school assistants.