Consultant Helps BOE Establish Action Plan

At the USD 489 Board of Education work session on Monday, December 2nd, the board will discuss proposed changes to the organization of the district’s administration and support staff.  Reorganization and better-defining the reporting structure of the district was just one suggestion made by Randy Gustafson, who had been hired as a consultant to conduct a review of the school district’s operation and make recommendations.

Superintendent Dean Katt told Hays Post that Gustafson met with staff, reviewed policies, handbooks and processes, and designed a list of recommendations he felt would benefit the district.  From those recommendations, Gustafson created a 38 page report which he presented at the USD 489 retreat held on Saturday November 16th.  One area which he felt the district was deficient was establishing clear structure for each department.

According to Gustafson’s report;

“USD 489 is a large local government organization, with a budget approaching $50,000,000.00, with employment over 700, over 2000 students, in a city/county of more than 27,000 residents, and it’s been run as if it were a district of 100 students in the most remote area of the state.  There is there is little oversight, direction, supervision, coordination or direction given to its departments of employees.”

Gustafson cited kitchen, custodial, and IT personnel as examples where direct supervision and oversight is unclear to even the staff in those roles.  He proposed creating Standard Operating Procedures for each position to better define each role.  At the retreat, it was determined that the district would also benefit from an organizational chart to define the reporting structure of staff.

At the retreat, Gustafson’s report and the resulting discussion were used to set various SMART Goals as part of a USD 489 action plan.  The action plan will be visited throughout the school year.  Katt said that the goal of the plan isn’t to look back and see who or what was wrong, but to move forward.

“We need to forget about the past, we have the plan, we have the recommendations; that’s what we’re going to focus on and go forward.  Let’s quit dwelling on what’s happened in the past, whether you agree, disagree whatever.  All these things on here are good.”


  • Need assistance too!

    Over 700 employees for 2000 students, all paid year round for 7 month work year. One employee for every 3 students! Assistants & Para educators for every Principal, teacher, Director, manager etc. etc.. No wonder why we have a 50 million dollar budget! Didn’t see boxes on the charts for various Unions. Property taxes went up $456 this year.

    • Uncle Thomas

      “Didn’t see boxes on the charts for various Unions.” Please explain why this would be on an organizational chart?
      I do not believe all are paid year around. Matter of fact the food services personnel, para’s…are not.
      Remember this is America we must support those that can not or will not support themselves. We must provide equal learning opportunities for those which do not speak English. We must comply with..

      • Still need assistance!

        Guess I upset you & others. We all know or are related to someone that is employed by USD 489 or FHSU. You can believe what you want and continue to believe this not a problem created by their ever demanding greedy Unions & lavish benefit packages…most State’s pension are in the red. The cost of educating our kids continues to skyrocket. Obviously you are in the school system and the rising property taxes are easier for you to live with.

        • Uncle Thomas

          You did not upset me. I am not employed by the 489 or FHSU. Your statements borderline lunacy, had to comment.

        • Hays taxpayer

          The union isn’t greedy. As I recall, there was a wage freeze for several years. Even though the pay charts show pay increases for teachers for length of service and hours of continuing education (or earning Masters degree), none of them received that for years. How would you feel working for a local company and they tell you on year 5, you will get a raise and if you also earn a masters degree, we’ll give you another raise. You do all that and then your employer says ‘Sorry, I’m tapped out. You’ll have to stay at the same wage level’. You criticize the union and teachers, yet have no idea what is happening behind the scenes. And no, I’m not a teacher. I am a taxpayer and feel strongly for our kids’ education and for teachers to be treated with some respect and fairness. The union simply asked for a cost of living increase and was only given half of what they asked for. Teachers can’t go up to a ‘boss’ and ask for a wage increase. It has to come from the board and applies to all teachers. That’s why they have a ‘union’ (collection of concerned teachers) to discuss wages with the board.

          • Needy not greedy

            The point is we taxpayers don’t have a choice, if you send your kids to private schools we still have to pay for the public school employees salaries & their lavish benefits.
            example: You have a choice when buying a auto, the auto company base their employees pay & benefits on # of sales. The School district unions base on how much they can squeeze taxpayers using your children as pawns. The name I used to write this comment is anonymous because I don’t want my children targeted!

          • Be reasonable

            Your comments don’t even make sense. Your reasoning says I shouldn’t have to pay taxes that go for road maintenance on 34th street in Hays because I never use that street? Nobody is forcing anyone to attend a private school. You can home school if so inclined. A quality public education is important to our nation and our people have voted to have that funded partially with tax dollars. Most go with that option for their kids. The ones that don’t do so of their own free will. At USD 489 enrollment, public school students also have to pay fees and also provide school supplies. The union has never once ‘used children as pawns’.

    • Toby Prine

      Teachers are paid for the months they work. They are given an option to have money taken from each check to provide income during the summer months, making household budget planning a little easier. I’m not sure where your information regarding assistants and para educators for every principal or teacher is coming from, but it is far from accurate.

      • Need Asistance

        It came from the Charts & the employee/student ratio. Ask your wife why they have parent/teacher conferences only once a year now…is it because the BOE has to give them two days off after each conference & they ran out of days to give because federal law requires 169 day school year? I’ll bet the police officers’ union you belong to would love that!

        • Toby Prine

          I’m not a police officer. I don’t belong to a union. I’d ask for the decency to identify yourself since you’ve started commenting on personal information.

          • Still needy, not greedy!

            Toby, you made it personal by using your real name! I kept my name anonymous to protect my family from angry hotheads.

          • Toby Prine

            I always use my real name to keep the discussion civil and stand behind my comments. Civil discourse is that important to me. If there ever comes a time you don’t feel threatened when commenting, I’ll toss out an invitation to coffee to sit and ‘cuss and discuss’ the issues.

          • Still needy & not intimidated

            It appears your not reading what I actually said! I said I was protecting MY FAMILY! I did Not say I was threatened by you! You not the kind of guy that could intimidate any other grown man, but you do seem like a angry HOTHEAD & you probably would take it out on women & children. Take a chill pill.

          • Toby Prine

            Please be assured that none of my comments were ment to threaten anyone. My intent is never to intimidate, but to engage in civil discussion. I’ll use my actual name because I feel it keeps the discussion civil and I’m less likely to make snide or rude comments to others when I lay my neck on the public “chopping block”. Most don’t seem to agree with my stance on that. During our discussion you’ve brought up my former employment, my wife’s employment, and have accused me of being a “hothead” willing to take my aggression “out on women & children.” And all done under a nom de guerre. I use this as evidence for using my name. The invitation to discuss the issues was genuine. You’re probably right stating that I’m incapable of intimidating any other grown man. Frankly, that is the absolute last character trait I would strive for. But attempting to discuss issues with those that disagree with me IS something I strive for. Again, if ever you choose to identify yourself to me, please accept my genuine invitation to sit over coffee (or beverage of your choice).

          • Im your neighbor

            Ok just the facts. They got your name right which you provided. But Occupation and union membership were negatives. Doesn’t sound to personal if the only info they got right was was your name which again you posted. That pickup driving dog owning Mall Shopping Toby Prine cant be right, impossible. I don’t agree with him and no one else should either. Personal? I dont know cant be any farther off than the last person.

        • Conferences are important

          So if your employer asks you to work say 5 hours extra in the evening for 3 conference days, would you not expect either extra pay or those 15 hours off on another day? Everyone is either so jealous or just not thinking. If my employer asked me to work extra and didn’t compensate me somehow, I’d be looking for another job. I hadn’t heard anything about going to only one conference a year. However, with people nit picking every detail, I can imagine they had to cut down in order to keep everything in the budget. Only one who loses there is the kids.

          • earn your keep or move on

            This attitude is part of the problem. Professional workers being expected to only have a 40 hour work week. Exempt employees are expected to get the job done! If you were working for me as an exempt employee, and came to me with this attitude, you would be shown the door. Lots of folks looking for good, full time jobs these days ( but unfortunately with the baggage of a sense, like this, of entitlement).

          • Conferences are important

            Glad I don’t work for you. I don’t know of a single government or state/federal/local government job where you don’t get compensated somehow for extra time on the job. Private companies can do as they please and sometimes do while taking advantage of an employee. I’ve heard stories before where someone says they’d like to quit because so and so asked them to work overtime but it was ‘off the clock’ and they won’t get paid for it. I suppose you are also for child labor, hiring illegals for $5 per hour, paying employees in cash to avoid social security and business taxes, and taking shortcuts in safety equipment all to save a dime. Giving a teacher time off on another day for putting in evening hours to meet with parents that work during the day is simply equaling out time spent. It’s not giving them a cash bonus.

          • Uncle Thomas

            I have never witnessed a teacher stay late three consecutive days for five hours…gross exaggeration! Maybe one night and then a couple of easy nights. Do 60% of the parents even show up for a conference in todays world? In the real world when you are salary you work 60 hours per week and when a special event occurs e.g., customer visit, customer deadline, etc you do whatever it takes to get the job done when you are salaried. Do your best and are thankful you have a job. I am talking no summer off, no extended holidays, etc.

          • Conferences are important

            For one, I was just giving a ‘what if’ scenario on how someone would feel if an employer asked for you to put in extra hours. Maybe conference days are actually for 2.5 hours a day for 3 days for a total of 7.5 hours. I don’t know. Call USD 489 if it bothers you that much. If a teacher has 22 students and allows 20 minutes per student, that is about 7.5 hours. Second, as far as I know, whether parents attend or not, a teacher is required to be there. If not a single parent wants to go, so be it, but a teacher still has to be available and there during the conference times the school has set up as there contract states. Why do you have such a beef with teachers? Were you kept in at recess a lot as a child? Did you not pass enough college course to become a teacher? Teachers are given a contract each year with days/hours they are to be there, which holidays to be off, pay to be received, sick days allowed, etc. If you want to be a high school dropout and work 60 hour weeks and do whatever it takes to keep your job, fine. These are teachers with written contracts. I’m glad your not in charge of anything but posting random nonsense blogs.

          • Uncle Thomas

            My beef is the whiny teachers wanting, wanting, wanting more at salary negotiations. They have enough! Full time is considered 2080 hours per year, teachers maybe work 1600 and expect more then a full time salary. There benefits are excellent, the time they have with their families…weekends, holidays.
            Ummm as for your other ridiculous comments…I do have a degree, in todays environment if you want to make a six digit salary you put in 60 hour work weeks. As for the teaching degree…elementary education is one of the easier degrees.

          • Conferences are important

            The Hays teachers are not whiny. They are also not always wanting. ‘Full time’ is not an exact amount. It’s up to your employer and your contract or work agreement. You seem to think if teachers don’t have a time clock and punch in for every second they work they are getting away with something. They are paid for the time that they DO work. Plain and simple. Move on. A teachers schedule isn’t just 8 am to 3:10 pm on days school is in session anyway. There is a lot more to it including taking workshops and continuing education college courses, etc. If I hire a professional employee and pay them a salary of $30,000 and give them the Winter off (seasonal job), then that is still their full time salary job. If I hire someone year round for $25,000 (secretary), that is her full time salary job. What degree is ‘easy’ is also arbitrary. The degree I currently hold (non teaching related) you may think is difficult. I may think an elementary degree is hard to obtain.

    • Guest23

      Better check your stats, Need Assistance. The school year is 9 months not 7 months. Many employees work 10 months and some 12 months. USD 489, by it’s own reports has 2830 students, not 2000, and the published budget for the last 2 years was $40 million. The projected for this year was $42 million but that probably is lower because the September enrollment count was lower than expected. $50 million is a gross exaggeration. Apparently we shouldn’t believe everything we read. Check it for yourself:

      • Still needy, not greedy!

        170 day school work year = 5.666 months. I didn’t include all the holidays you people seem to think you deserve. I was quoting Gus’s approximate figures…obviously your not a math or reading teacher, but one of those so-called assistants & paras that wander the halls & plant yourself in the break rooms! School unions not the problem…give me a break! Check your property taxes.

        • math

          Maybe you need to go back to school. Since when does a person work all 30 days in a month with no day off? Assuming a school year is 170 days and most working people work M-F with weekends off, that is 8.5 months.

      • Uncle Thomas

        Any teacher working non stop lacks organizational skills. The school year may be 9 months, but after you subtract out all the days off how many days are they actually working? They make good money and have great benefits. Yet they continue to whine…!

        • I am a teacher

          Organizational skills are not always the problem. There is always a changing curriculum that must be implemented the following year. 9 months of lesson plans, test preparation, standardized testing content planning, grant writing (yes, teachers write many of their own grants) and a host of other things MUST be done during the summer months because that is when new state and federal requirements are released. Then they hold them hostage to meet these requirements or screw with their funding. If you think the teaches run home on the last day of school with the kids you a sadly mistaken (there are a few lazy ones that due and their education abilities are evident). Perhaps tax cuts should come from others areas as well, education has bled enough.

  • guddet

    Did this school district not have flow charts before for personnel?

    • Uncle Thomas

      The district does an average job of education and had zero management…no way they new what a hierarchy was…more like a dictatorship.

      • Guest23

        With all due respect Uncle Thomas, I have to disagree with you on one point. The teachers on the front lines have been performing way above average and so have the students. Here are links to the KSDE report card and the data for Hays, for reading and math.

        • alexander

          While these charts DO show that our district is ahead of state averages in these 2 particular areas, one can’t ignore that our numbers from 2012 to 2013 show a precipitous decline for our district.

        • Uncle Thomas

          Guest23… the teachers on the front lines are lazy doing the minimum! Have you visited a school? Some sit at their desks and talk loud because they are too big or lazy to walk through the class. Some are eating, texting, sipping their coffee, emailing in front of their students… maybe 10% are going the extra mile.
          As for the state report card…blah, blah, blah! Look where we rank in the world…shameful!

          • Words of hot air

            So you propose to cut their funding and fire teachers to increase the class size? What solution do you propose?

  • tea partier

    You high priced employees, including you teachers, are on the chopping block. There’s a new sheriff it town. Thank God for the Gus. Us taxpayers have paid way toooooo many taxes for too many years. And what do we get for it? Kids that can’t properly read, do math or sciences. Bust up those unions Gus. Fire those high priced teachers and lets start over. And you can also chopped apart that high priced medical health coverage we’ve been paying for. Do like the city just did. Bring in Coventry Health for cheaper premiums and make the employees pay more for their coverage and get away from expensive blue cross. And if the employees don’t like it? Tough! go find a different job. this taypayer is taxed out!!!!

    • Common sense

      You want good teachers, yet you are wanting to cut their pay and benefits and fire them? Good luck with that. Just because they make more than you do doesn’t mean you should get so irate. You can go to school and earn a degree and apply for a job too :) Oh…and if you don’t like your taxes here in Hays, maybe you can move. Only a percentage of the taxes you pay anyway actually go to USD 489. Some goes to roads, special projects like the soccer complex, new EMS building, some is sales tax, some is vehicle tax, etc. There are a lot of areas one could cut before you start cutting education which has seen a lot of cuts in the last few years. I also see a lot of money directed towards sports in the Hays area, but everyone is always quick to cut education. If there are kids doing poor in math or science, then that should be a priority. Special ed services have already been cut due to new budget limitations.

    • Guest23

      Tea Partier—First things first, Gustafson has no supervisory authority over anyone in the school district. Secondly, if you check the KSDE report card you’ll see that Hays students are performing well above the state averages. And if you check your tax statement you’ll find that the taxes marked for schools went up .02 percent. On my taxes that amounted to about 25 cents. How awful! I can pay for that with the change that lays in the bottom of my purse.

      If your taxes are too high and you can’t pay them–Tough– go find a different job!!! But you can’t blame the school system when the increase is .02%.

  • Uncle Thomas

    for having a consultant and a new business/HR manager what is the glaring error in these charts?

  • WHOA

    Whoa, hang on let me get this straight. I know the report says approaching 50,000,000 and over 2000 students. But if the numbers posted in the comments are indeed accurate than that seems like far more than a stretch or just way outside the ballpark especially for a report. That like a 30 year old saying there approaching 40. And thats in the report were all talking about and the report the board is trying to base decisions and the future and direction of the school district on. If you found out the person your kid was dating that told you they just passed 28 and you found out they were 40 what would you think. I think we need more sound facts especially for something as important as this. I would tell my kid to dump the liar or get a refund

  • just sayin

    has anyone noticed that almost all the comments here have very little to do with the actual article or its content. Its like the second someone hears the word school in any context its like Under performing overpaid lazy teachers are ruining the country and we need to increase the funding or our kids are going to get sick and die. This article could have been about school lunch and the comments would still be” look at those excellent test scores” and “cut even a dime and youll have teachers that will move off the planet and not come back.”