By JUDY SHERARD
Discussion of bond proposal marketing strategies, mill levies and construction schedules were part of a lengthy Hays USD 489 Board of Education meeting Monday night.
Zach Snethen, HTK Architects project manager, and Elizabeth Johnson, HTK director of marketing, discussed the process of getting public approval of a $100 million bond to pay for improvements to the district's facilities.
Dustin Avey, managing director with Piper Jaffray, gave the board a closer look at financing the improvements if the board decided to move forward with a November 2015 election.
The bond process usually takes six to eight months, Snethen said.
Many districts use a patron survey to test how patrons feel about a bond proposal, he said.
"I think it's out there in the community that you're proposing a bond issue," Snethen said.
Besides asking about specific projects, surveys "get a pulse of how citizens of the district feel in terms of their level of trust, how financially responsible the board and the district has been with the tax dollars, how they feel the schools are run," Snethen said.
If the board goes forward with a November 2015 election, it would call for a special election since the only general election next year is in April.
Josh Waddell said April would be too soon.
"We've had some struggles. There's an obligation that this board has to show that the direction that we're going is fiscal responsibility," he said. "I think April's general election would have a lot of shock to it."
Snethen said it's common for school districts working to pass bonds to have a public relations committee, fundraising committee since district funds can't be used to promote the bond and a get-out-and-vote committee, as well as a speakers' bureau.
"We'll be a resource available to you guys throughout this," Johnson said.
"If you go forward with the bond issue, there's still a period of about three years to construct everything that's been proposed," Snethen said.
Avey said it's still a favorable interest rate environment.
He presented several scenarios for the bond process such as 20-year, 25-year and 30-year bonds.
"We have to make sure the mill levy we communicate to the public is what we deliver to the public," Avey said.
At the end of the meeting, the board entered into a 30-minute executive session to discuss Superintendent Dean Katt's evaluation.
The board also:
* Approved revisions to the district purchasing procedures.
* Accepted a bid from High Plains Roofing Inc. for $68,794 for Rockwell Administration Center and Westside Alternative School.
* Recognized the state champion Hays High School girls' golf team.
* Awarded Mahala Gregg, third-grader at O'Loughlin Elementary School, the first Best of the Best student award, and Sonya Herl, fourth-grade teacher at O'Loughlin Elementary School, the first Best of the Best staff award.
* Heard a presentation from the Hays High FFA chapter.
* Accepted resignations from Judy Halbleib, Hays High assistant cook. and Javier Landa, Washington Elementary School ELL para.
* Approved a transfer for Danielle Nay, Lincoln Elementary School after-school care assistant.
* Approved employment for Megan Bird, Hays Middle School head tennis coach; Hanna Pfannenstiel, HMS assistant tennis coach; Heather Burgardt, Hays High assistant cook; Amanda Basye, Lincoln ELL para; Kylie Powell, Roosevelt Elementary School para; and Marcie Albers, Early Childhood Connections assistant to mental health coordinator.