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USD 489 wants your help with Superintendent Search

Hays HighUSD 489 will hold public focus group meetings as part of the search for a new Superintendent of Schools.

Interim Superintendent Dean Katt told Hays Post, “On Monday, November 4 at 6 p.m. parents of students and any other community members who want to help determine what characteristics should be considered in a new superintendent will meet. The meeting will be held in the lecture hall at Hays High School. Staff from Kansas Association of School Boards will be available to help lead the discussion.

On Tuesday, November 5, members of the PTA, District Site Councils, Home and School and related school organizations are encouraged to attend a similar meeting in the lecture hall at Hays High.”

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  • paxon

    i say we pick greg schwartz. he wants to run the whole show anyway so give him the position.

    • ew

      So he can close the rest of the schools down? The man is a huge douchebag

  • Curious

    So is the interim superintendent wanting to stay past this school year? If so, then why are we even doing this search, which of course is costing a lot of time and money? If he’s made it clear this is just a 1 year position for him, then I can understand starting now to look for a replacement. I just feel to even hire an interim person, have them get to learn the system, staff, processes, town, board of education, all the schools, etc and then have him leave is causing more frustration. We should have just kept Roth on a few more months until the position was filled with someone interested in a permanent, long term position.

  • jacksonpete

    this whole mess comes down to Schwartz vs Kaufmann feud. Schwartz got Fred out and everything has gone down hill from there. This whole mess is costing us more with Schwartz trying to micro manage everything and call the shots. Won’t work folks.

  • Guests

    Where is that Gustafson guy. What is his job? Schwartz is going to dig himself a hole and it’s getting deeper all the time.

    • Educated

      Wow. Schwartz is the most powerful man in town. It is insulting to the other board members and the superintendent to suggest this one individual is running the show. These posts all come from those in the district who are afraid of the elimination of the good ol boy system that has existed since the Fred Kaufman era and the rubber stamp school boards of the past.

  • d

    I agree with all the posts. Why get input when Schwartz will twist the arms of the other board members to get who he wants. Wake up people. As far a the Gustafson guy, he took his $60000 and ran; not literally but what has he done? Nothing and in the future nothing. The board already decided to eliminate the associate supt. position and hire a business manager, perhaps not a bad idea but it never came from Gustafson as he initially suggested. Watch the meeting on tv for your comedy for the week. It is hilarious. Schwartz ruling the roost and Katt bowing to his every word.

  • ..

    Dean Katt seems like he would be a great person for the job. He has made an effort to visit the schools and with the staff. He doesn’t seem like he would get pushed around by certain board members. Which is probably the reason he won’t get the job. They want someone that’s going to kiss their butts.

  • dan

    Mike Hester!

    • SMH

      I hope and pray you are joking!!

  • Patience

    So, the article above is about community involvement in the Superintendent search, which I believe is a positive move for Hays. However, reading the comments I am confused on how such negatives relating to past topics still surface repeatedly. Fred, Will and Richard are no longer part of the district nor will they be rehired, that topic is dead and why waste time on the past, move on! I have been pleasantly satisfied with the actions of Dean Katt thus far and I hope he chooses to put his name in the hat for the full time job, but to not open up the search for other candidates is both in violation of state policy and an injustice to the district in the event that an even better candidate exists and we ignored their possible employment with our school district. I have watched every board meeting since the new board has been in place and have only missed out on one work session. What is all the talk about Schwartz running the district or that the BOE wants a patsy in this position? I find everything to be quite the contrary. The BOE is removing themselves from all hiring committees. Vague policies are being redrafted and implemented to avoid confusion or grey areas. Leadership positions are being filled. A consultant who has decades of operations experience is working with the interim Super to make improvements that are long overdue when talking with school administrators, some teachers and other community members. If Schwartz truly wanted to rule the district, then why would he relinquish so much power and authority? Do any of you know Randy Gustafson?? Gustafson is not some easily dominated man who is working for Schwartz. Randy has a mind of his own and is very staunch in his opinions and ways of doing things which is contrary to any argument of this being a Schwartz dictatorship. Schwartz and Schumacher have the most tenure on the BOE so I would expect them to be more vocal since they should have a better feel for board dealings. Patterson and Leiker are only at 2 years each while the other three members are brand new. Give them a chance people and give the new members some time to get comfortable. However, I will say that Bickle and Waddell definitely are more vocal than I had expected and while they might fall guilty to making naïve mistakes, they are definitely asking questions which is a great place to start. To not acknowledge that our district is deficient in financial solidarity, leadership, technology and up to date facilities just means that you are easily susceptible to any hogwash you are told, because there is no doubt that those areas have been suffering greatly. I listen to the discussions on test scores and teachers. I’m proud that we have had great scores in the past and I think that we do have many quality teachers. Waddell said it best at the closing of a past board meeting when he acknowledged the fact that this community is made up of great families who should share in much of the educational success. To say that we have all the best teachers is ridiculous and hopefully the new evaluation process can weed out the undesirable. Did anyone watch the union/district negotiations? The leader of the teacher’s union is Kim S. (I do not know exactly how to spell her last name) and there is not one shred of her that came across as putting any of the children first and that concerns me greatly. I would have more negatives to say about her disposition and agendas then I would ever have about Greg Schwartz. Is a union in Hays even needed? If we don’t watch out the KNEA will make sure that we are bled dry and not a dollar is spent on improving our student’s needs. In closing, we have issues and we need to move forward, which I think is being accomplished. I have lived for 52 years now and have seen a lot of changes, some for the good and some for the bad. The only way you know is if you try and I commend all those who are trying to make improvements and I pity those who only put up walls of impedance. The next couple of years will shed light on our future and I wish USD 489 all the best. Now let’s get leadership in place, find stability and serve our students to the best of our ability because at the end of the day the students are the only reason a school district exists and everyone needs to keep that in mind!

    • bosco

      well put greg!

      • Tired

        Bosco, you are ridiculous. Thank God you are not a leader in this community. I can say that with confidence because a real man or woman would not stoop to such a comment.

        • Proud

          Well stated “Patience” and I feel you hit some nails right on the head!!!!!!!!

    • Support our teachers

      ‘KNEA will bleed us dry’???? Get real. They are only trying to get the teachers a much deserved pay increase. Other jobs give incremental pay based on performance, years on the job, advanced degrees, cost of living, etc. The teachers have had to go thru forced wage freezes for several years now. You can’t ask for quality teachers and a good environment for our students yet hold back wages all in the same breath. They have bills to pay too.

      • Hilariously Sad

        The field of education has come down to money I see. IF Hays was in the toilet regarding pay scale for teachers then I guess you’d have an argument, But it isn’t and quite frankly it compares nicely across the state. You make comparisons to private sector companies that generate revenue vs. a school district, really??? I can ask for quality teachers and I can expect that my child receives a good environment for learning. IF money is what you want then take your education degree and seek employment elsewhere, but if you can live on 35-50K in Hays and have the internal calling to teach then by all means contribute. Advanced degrees outside of what you teach do not make you a better teacher, so either become an administrator or save the dough and focus on your task, which is teaching! Unions make me sick and are a big part of why our country is in the peril it is in…., there was a time and a place but those days are gone yet the attitude is not. Sad world!!! Typical entitlement situation, when will this ever change.

        • Support our teachers

          All I can say is I’m glad you’re not in charge of anything. Have fun at your quick shop job. I’d prefer someone teaching my kids that has as much college education as possible and is in a good position with pay so they aren’t feeling taken advantage of. I don’t want a high school dropout teaching or someone having to live on the bare minimum because we put our money into sod for our sports fields and a new luxury sports bus. You don’t go to college and earn a masters degree to work for $25,000 a year. And it also doesn’t matter if you are working in the private sector or not. Teaching is a professional career job. Are you saying all government jobs should also get the bare minimum since they aren’t ‘private sector? Your posting name says educated, but I think you might have missed a few days of school.

          • Some People

            Education is education, who we are is who we are. I have 3 children in this district and all I want is a teacher who is qualified to teach, has a passion, can convey the material in a way that makes my children want to learn and is willing to assist my child if needed. That is all I can ask. I don’t care about masters degrees and not sure why anyone does for K-12 education unless you want to climb the ladder or move on to a college where extended knowledge of a field is necessary and requires advanced schooling. “Support Our Teachers”, you say something that I don’t understand. You posted that ”
            You don’t go to college and earn a masters degree to work for $25,000 a year”, well what teacher does and if you did then who is the idiot? You come across very angry and then make comments that the children don’t deserve the best (regarding your sod and bus comment) well, I think we should be providing the best to our students. What is wrong with your perspective of putting the needs of students behind the needs of teachers? Very misguided in my opinion and while you may be strong on insulting people who work at quick shop you are very narrow on intelligence. Please do us all a favor and listen first and talk later.

          • Support our teachers

            I have a right to my opinion just as you have a right to your misguided one. I said that we should provide quality pay to receive quality teachers. I also said that teaching should be the priority, not sports……at least in this time when money is not in excess. We recently spend untold thousands on an new super nice activity bus (not a school bus for kids) and also to sod a baseball field I think it was. The students NEEDS are an education, not sports know how. The starting pay scale for teachers in Hays is low. The only way to truly find out is go get one as it’s public knowledge as far as I know. I believe it is about $25,000 but may be wrong. I’m not a teacher, but in talking to some that have been there for 10+ years, they aren’t making a whole lot more than $35,000. I wasn’t trying to insult anyone working at a quick shop. I was just saying I was glad you were working there and not in a position of authority on making budget decisions.

          • Like it is

            No, you insulted people that work at places like “Quick Shop” and don’t try to back step. Nonetheless, I have a son in High School who has been stranded during the winter on the previous activity buses because they were in such bad condition. It is not good for our district to transport children with unreliable transportation and to buy a cheap activity bus would put us back into the same boat very quickly. We have some of the worst outdoor sports facilities in the state and if you do not believe me then just contact the AD. The baseball field was unplayable prior to the turf and the sod that is being installed is to help curb all of our water issues. Also, monies for the district comes from different funds that can only be used in certain ways. Field improvements is paid for from the Capital Outlay fund which could not be used for teacher salaries anyway. Better to be pre-emptive than sorry. Sports are a mainstay of public school education and serve a far more substantial role than you can possibly fathom. Look at the statistics of students who are involved in sports and other extracurricular activities vs. those who are not involved. Sports teaches real world traits and give some students a reason to keep their grades up. Sports are not going away so you can fight against it all you want but you are hitting a brick wall that will not break. Very tiring argument to still be having anyway. Back to your teacher pay, even if the teacher is making between 35K and 40K, that still translates into 60-64K before benefits. They only work 7.5 months out of the year. Do you get that? Here, I will say it again, Teachers only work 7.5 months a year! There are a lot of professional jobs in Hays that do not make 60K for 12 month jobs. Hays teachers are paid very competitively across the board in comparison to all other districts in the state. So why is there even an argument. The students should be the priority, not teachers! Students first, teachers second, I can live with that…can you? Why shouldn’t our students have the best facilities both inside and out? Seriously, answer me that. Why should the students of USD 489 not have the best facilities (buildings, classrooms, auditoriums, gymnasiums, sports fields, and even buses) that we can possibly provide them with? Why? We should only spend money on teachers? I highly doubt you understand the dynamics of a school budget. So please, continue with your ways and opinions but understand that in a world where one group is given the most and others the least is not the most conducive environment for success. Personally, I err toward striving for the best of both worlds. However, there is no way that you are going to convince me that our teachers are not taken care of out here in good old Hays America. If the grass is always greener then by all means, I encourage those unhappy teachers to move on because there are a lot of people who would be happy to have a job here.

          • Educated

            Starting teachers make over $36,000 a year with no experience. Sounds better if you say $25,000, but that is not true. That is 36,000 for working less than 8 months a year.

          • FHSU grad

            I hope no one on here takes your word for this. Please…..check your facts before spouting random figures. It is in no way, shape, or form $36,000 for a first year teacher at USD489. Maybe you found this online for a teacher in California? Post a link if you have proof. Geez…….

          • Educated

            http://www.usd489.com/wp-content/uploads/Staff-Resources/HNEAMasterContract.pdf

            Look at page 3. I was wrong it is $35,200. Your misinformation along with others is the reason these budgets get so out of whack. You sit back and complain about their pay and you are so far off the mark. These teachers are well paid. This chart does not include all of the extra pay received by teachers.

          • Oreally

            You might also want to take into account that a LOT of those teachers making $35,200 are also paying out about $1k a month in student loan repayments and around $300-$600 a month for insurance. That really puts a bite on the “well-paid” teacher, especially when you compare it to other fields they could work in and make considerably more.

          • Oreally

            LOL There are VERY FEW teachers that work only 7-8 months of the year. The ones that do are generally not very good teachers. Most teachers spend all day at school, then a few hours each day doing grading, helping students, or sponsoring clubs. In the summers, most teachers work on making lesson plans for the coming year. Just because they aren’t “at school” doesn’t mean they aren’t working. Plus, you might remember that teachers usually end up buying some classroom supplies from their own pockets.

          • Amazed

            “Support our teachers” are you being serious? You insult people working at a convenience store and then say it doesn’t matter if you work in the private sector or not, teaching is a professional career? What is wrong with you? I applaud anyone who is working in this country and contributing because there is too much of the opposite. Teachers are professionals, I’ll give you that but what is your point? This conversation thread has become a little out of control and I believe it is people like you who are dragging us down via limited intelligence and logic. Teachers are paid very well here, the end! Our children should not have reliable, comfortable, updated transportation? Our children should not have safe playing fields to compete on? But that money should go to teachers??? You are way out of line and I truly hope you are not a teacher because your unionized attitude is not needed in this part of the state. Please, seek living quarters elsewhere! Good Day.

          • Google

            http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/11/20/teachers-bonuses-masters-degrees-_n_786449.html

            This seems to refute your arguments. I guess that quick shop job is worth more than your teaching degree. It sucks when the facts get in the way of your preconceived idea.

        • Be Logical

          Come on now, Teachers are not paid badly here in Hays and have the luxury of teaching in one of the state’s best communities. In fact, a starting teacher with a salary of approx. 35K for 7.5 months of work translates into 60K per year before benefits, so please don’t go down that road. We need to be conscious of what they are paid for two reasons, 1 so that they are competitively paid for best attraction to our district and 2 so that we don’t overspend at the sake of our district. Now, the teachers might say they are being slighted but that is the same water cooler talk that has been going on since the first boss hired the first employee. If you want to get rich then do more with your money or pursue a different occupation.

          • Wrong

            Starting teachers in Hays are NOT paid $35,000. If you are going to post comments, at least make a call to the board office first so you can post FACTS.

          • Just Curious

            So what is the starting pay? Let’s say it is 25K, which it is not, then that would equivocate to 40K per year before benefits. Not bad starting out either way. Remember, teachers only work 7.5 months out of the year.

          • Wrong

            For one….is equivocate even a word? Two…a salary is a salary. Whether you work 40 hours, 30 hours, evenings, have split shifts, etc. I worked a job where we worked super long summer hours, but had lots of free time in the winter and that too is a ‘salary’. Lastly, teachers work more than 7.5 months a year. Not sure who is doing your math. Sounds like you are just upset that your job pays you by the hour because you didn’t qualify for a position that comes with a salary.

          • Just curious

            Quite the contrary, I have a lot of respect for Good Teachers and do not want their job. I went to college, have a degree, get a salary and work as a manager. Nothing fancy but it provides well for my family and I am very happy with where I am. Yes, equivocate is a word and is used when speaking of ambiguous things such as teachers salaries. How do you figure teachers work more than 7.5 months a year? Regardless of whether or not they use their sick/vacation days, there is Christmas break, Spring Break etc…which when calculated how many days a teacher is in a classroom actually adds up to 7.5 months. According to the teachers I know, they only have to be to work by 7:45 and can leave at 3:30. With a lunch break that is not even 8 hours per day. I’m not knocking that because it is a pretty sweet gig for those who want to teach. But I am saying that I do not see where the world is against them and that they are receiving the short end of the stick. Teachers are compensated fair in the Hays district. I’m not saying it is the best in the state but it could be far worse and in fact we are on the upper end so what is so bad about that?

          • Math

            Wrong, and least you know you are incorrect. Teachers work 1276 hours a year per their contract. This when compared to anyone working 40 hours a week or 173 hours a month equals roughly 7.5 months of work. This is math. It should be taught where you are working.

          • dan

            HEY knucklehead, teachers work during the summers too you moron.

  • nunyer

    53 hrs per week x 36 weeks per year = 1908 hours per year (http://m.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/post/survey-teachers-work-53-hours-per-week-on-average/2012/03/16/gIQAqGxYGS_blog.html)

    40 hours per week x 50 weeks per year = 2000 hours per year for nonteaching jobs

    1908 is about 95% of 2000, so pay teachers 95% of what other degree-requiring jobs pay.

    Greg needs to stop spouting the “teachers only work 7.5 months per year” lie. He and his bullying buddies Bickle and Waddell have zero respect for USD489 staff and kids. Looks like they’re on the board to throw their weight around in public, to try to get contracts for friends and push their way onto the football field when they have no business down there.

    • Gary

      http://www.usd489.com/wp-content/uploads/Staff-Resources/HNEAMasterContract.pdf

      Here is what they work in Hays. See pages 18-22. 179 days. They work approximately 7.45 hours a day. This equals 1333.55 hours a year. If you take the person starting out at 35,200 they make $26.40 and hour. Someone at the top makes 56,850 or $42.63 and hour. This while working for only eight months of the year. Not too bad. Thank you to all of those that go above and beyond. They are needed and appreciated.

      • nunyer

        So Gary you’re saying that teachers are lying, that they’re NOT doing any work outside the contracted hours, that the research showing otherwise is flawed.

        Got it. Very glad that my own kids’ teachers put in way more hours than you seem to think they do.

        • Gary

          How do you know how many hours they put in? Are you a teacher? If so, isn’t this a bad way to get your point across as to your value? I think you may be the bully based upon your attacks on individuals.

          • nunyer

            How do I know the hours? Besides having friends and family members who are teachers? Read those numbers I posted again – there’s a link to research regarding those hours.

            Someone in a position of power who uses that power to gain special favors or to try to silence their opposition is a bully. I have zero power. Trying to cast me as the bully in this situation is laughable and ludicrous, and takes the focus off where we need to be watching.

            Meanwhile we better make sure any new superintendent can pour oil on our troubled waters.

          • Gary

            You teachers getting on these anonymous public forums are the reason that there are troubled waters. You should be stepping forward publicly and coming to the board with this information. Not sitting on this site complaining. I speak to board members often and to administrators and tell them my thoughts. Try doing the same instead of complaining that all the money the district has does not go to teachers.

          • nunyer

            Awww “Gary” you’re so cute! You can’t defend your mistakes about the hours teachers work
            so you try to attack what you think I do for a living! (For what it’s worth I’d never go into that field seeing the crap my friends and family members have to take from the likes of you.)

            Thanks for playing, though; better luck next time!

          • Not a teacher

            This is a public forum of people’s opinions. What gives you the right to dictate who can use them? I’m not a teacher and I’m going to post this just for you: I think Hays teachers deserve more and even I’m aggravated by opposition people posting that a teacher who’s salary is 35,000 is actually making 60,000. Really???? I don’t care what job you are in or how many hours or days you work. When you fill out a loan or do your taxes and put down your salary, it’s actually how much is recorded on your W-2 form, which in this case is 35,000.

    • Josh Waddell

      This will be my first post and most likely my last. I was informed that someone calling themselves “nunyer” made pretty wild accusations about my attitude towards the teachers and students of this school district, so I came to read it for myself. My response is simple. If you know me at all then you know that to be ridiculous. I do not claim to know everything or to be perfect. I stepped up and ran for the school board with the intentions of making positive change. I have much to learn and will most likely make mistakes, just like anyone else. I am not one to hide behind nameless/faceless social media sites such as this one. I do not see how anything on here is productive for our community or school district. Nonetheless, My name is Josh Waddell, I live in Hays and am easy to track down. To call myself or others bullies is a big claim and to say that I have zero respect for USD489 staff and kids is an even bigger claim. Both of course are false and outlandish. I challenge the person calling themselves “nunyer” to reveal and take accountability for their statements but I know that will not happen. The school district is torn in half right now and it is my desire for all of us to come together. For, it is my belief that if we all work together for the common good of this district then we will be a model for all to emulate. Teachers are no doubt the backbone of any educational institution and USD489 is no exception. I openly support all Good Teachers and it is my opinion that we have many right here in Hays. I also feel that the students are and should always be the top priority. I do believe that teacher pay in this district is far above average and is a positive. We have improvements to make, new systems to implement, and egos to put aside. Financially we are not in great shape and proper planning needs to be accomplished so that we are moving forward in the best manner possible which includes each student, teacher, administrator, janitor, cook, para, etc…
      Why don’t we squash this “us vs. them” approach and try getting on the same page. I have no hidden agendas and will be open and honest with anyone at anytime. Maybe some of my opinions are misguided but my intentions are not and I would gladly entertain an open conversation with anyone. But I will not do it on a site such as this because I want to know who it is I am talking to and I don’t think that is too much to ask. I realize that my choice to post on here is not a great idea and will probably work against me somehow. But when people such as “nunyer” are able to spread lies, insults and additional propaganda, well, I’m sorry but felt an address was called for. My email is jwaddellboe489@yahoo.com and I look forward to hearing from anyone at anytime.

      • nunyer

        Waddell do you deny you tried to bully your way onto the football field when you had no business there? Do you deny sending a hateful email to a USD489 staff member?

        • Josh Waddell

          I definitely did not bully my way onto the football field. I was with a couple of my youth football players, one being the younger brother of a senior player who really wanted to see the kickoff from that vantage point, the other my 8 year old son. I was standing off the back of the endzone close to the track when I was approached by a usd489 staff member. When approached I stated my name and what was going on and when asked to leave I did so. I was not impressed with the mannerisms of the individual who asked me to leave and have since been apologized to by school admin and have resolved the issue with the person who asked me to leave. There is not even the tiniest shred of malice or bullying in that incident.
          I did not send anything hateful to anyone. I did send a response to a teacher regarding her very disrespectful email she sent to me. She attacked and insulted me for sending out some facts and responses to teachers who had inquiries. My response to her was not sweet and cordial, rather to the point, open and honest. I am not saying that it was nice but it was a Far cry from hateful. Please note that I never once initiated that with her, it was her who sought me out and sent an equally not nice email to me in the first place.
          I make no claims that I am some PR master. I am aggressive by nature, and will speak my mind when I feel it needs to be spoken. Some may have a problem with that and some commend me for it. However, those two examples are way out of line regarding me being a bully or hate mail sender. I find it comical and sad at the same time that you would even try to correlate bullying and hatefulness into those two examples. But by all means, stay hidden and make wild accusations. I will stay the course. Have a happy Halloween to all who read this site and please be safe out there. I am signing off.

  • Yahooserious

    I don’t understand all the gripes about teachers pay. I only have a 2 year degree with no certifications and I started at more than 35k a year(with benefits). How are they not under paid? Okay they have a summer break, I get it, but BUT they teach our kids. They are often with our kids more than we are. I’m personally a big believer in well paid teachers. You get what you pay for.

    • Chief59

      Couldn’t have said it better myself. People have no respect for teachers. Every parent thinks their kid is the most amazing child in the world, so teachers get the blame when a child has problems in school. Teachers have their hands tied. Things like “No Child Left Behind” have handcuffed them. They are forced to teach to the test, as opposed to actually educating students. Then parents have the gall to stand behind their kids as opposed to ever taking a teachers side. No wonder the US education system is continually falling further behind the world leaders.

      Now, it is my understanding that teachers here are paid above the state average. Hays High also does fairly well when it comes to academics. You get what you pay for. Now, ALL teachers are underpaid. All of them. However, if our teachers are currently paid above average, then that should be sufficient for now.