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USD 489 board hears audit recommendations (VIDEO)

USD 489By KARI BLURTON

Hays Post

Hays USD 489 school board members met with auditors at Monday evening’s school board meeting in an effort to sort out the district’s current budget problems and hear suggestions on how to start rebuilding the district’s contingency funds:

Superintendent Dean Katt said the district is $215,000 short after spending nearly $395,000 in contingency funds to make up for budget errors. Katt said some of the problems included a decline in enrollment, failing to budget for the cost of seventh-grade sports and the fact the district budgeted a 1 percent raise for employees instead of the actual 1.85 percent that was given.

Ken Beran of auditor Adams, Brown, Beran & Ball admitted school district budgets are as “difficult” as they come. USD 489′s budget has 20 different funding streams revenue, for example.

Because of the budget is so complicated and hard to decipher, board members asked for a simplified version of the budget and monthly updates.

“I have been on this board for six years.  I have served on other boards.  I can read a budget, and you can’t make head or tails out of this, and that’s why we were relying on one or two people’s word ,” said board member Darren Schumacher.

Beran agreed and suggested coming up with a monthly report that includes “actual expenditures year-to-date” in order to compare to the budget.

Board President Greg Schwartz pointed out members had asked the previous administrators for a similar report but were denied.

Superintendent Dean Katt said he would include the recommendation in the district’s strategic plan.

Katt also said he would like to see budget projections “be on the conservative side” as far as expenditures and enrollment.

Beran also said the board and administration needs to take a closer look at activity funds at each of the schools, as well as utility expenses and overtime pay.

KSKOLLECTIONJULYAUG

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  • marion

    you forgot to mention greg the gus salary of $60,000 that you rammed through that wasn’t in the budget. and you are right greg. i remember on numerous occasions you asking fred for this stuff and he ignored you. you are correct to point this out. but since taking the helm of this ship since fred left you’ve made some mistakes also that affected this budget.

    • chief69

      Sounds like Obama defense and response to his myriad of messes….blame everything on George W….Greg blames Fred, prior board,Will. Must be political modus de jour, “the buck stopped back there”.

      • 61

        i totally agree chief69. its the “blame George W” game. I know where greg is coming from and to some degree i agree but this constantly blaming fred thing is getting tired. like beating a dead horse. after all it was greg that pushed to get will roth as super when fred left. we all knew what a disaster that was. then we had to can him and pay off his contract. haven’t heard greg readily admit what a mistake that was. my point is this. fred’s gone. let’s move on.

        • informed

          Greg voted to hire Will, but he was one of seven. Rich, Alan, Sharon, and Kari were still in charge of the board. WillI was a mistake, but where were you guys on this one? Did you contact any of the seven and tell them? I would guess you were the same people cheering him on when these changes were made, but now he knows nothing. What is the next step the board should make? I would like to hear this and then we can package it up and send it to these guys so they can be as smart as the armchair quarterbacks here.

          • leo

            my point is this. we all make mistakes. will was a mistake but greg doesn’t want to admit he was part of that mistake. but he has no problem continuously reminding everyone the mistakes of past administrators like fred. its over greg. fred’s gone. move forward.

    • Uncle Thomas

      hey hey let’s not be too harsh! that was a back scratch for the former city manager’s continued work and support of “the firm”.

  • Concerned taxpayer

    Don’t doubt the complexity of the budget; trying to figure out the City’s budget takes a city attorney(Bird & Schwartz law firm $150,000 +yearly) and Accounting firm. To me, the problem is assistants & para educators for everyone(a 7 hr. day)! Count he number of days of actual school since November 1 to present. Too much emphasis on sports, and a lavish benefit & retirement package second to none! Twice this month Hays High canceled last period for ALL students for a sporting event.

    • reamer

      you said it. totally agree.

    • Concerned

      How much are they milking the school district?

      • JR

        How much is who milking the district?

    • Reality

      Assistants and paras are often required in Individualized Education Programs mandated by federal law (the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) for kids with special needs. 30 years ago, these kids would’ve been in a different ‘special’ school, or at best in their own room segregated from other kids. Now, they’re in mainstream classrooms but need additional help; Paras permit this without the expense of additional FTE teachers, and most paras hire in part time at the $8-9 range, which seems to be the de facto minimum wage in Hays. It’s the cheapest way to ensure compliance with the law.

      • Concerned taxpayer

        Sure pick out one area where we’re required to have paras. I can under stand that…what about all the other benefits that have Kansas and every other State billions of dollars in debt? You didn’t count the number of days you USD 489 employees actually worked.

    • Don’t blame teachers

      It always gets me that people are ok with someone working for $35,000 with benefits, but you talk about someone earning that being paid with property taxes or state funds and they go crazy. I’m not a teacher, but fully support them. They all have college degrees, some with masters. They all have to take continuing education classes to renew their license, paid for with their own money. What do you suggest….pay them hourly with no benefits like some corporate places pay their employees? I’d hate to see the education our children would get then. Our property taxes and local/state/federal tax problems have more to do with mismanagement and people not thinking than it does with teachers taking advantage of anything. I do agree that we emphasize and pay into sports too much.

      • Uncle Thomas

        the problem with the teachers is they believe they are worth 50K+. They do not work 2080 hours per year, they have a degree, but it is a no brainer degree…almost as easy as sociology. They have insurance paid by the district 10 years after they retire…
        It use to be teachers understood what teaching was an accepted it. It was the second income in a household and that was adequate. The benefit was educating the youth…they enjoyed teaching.

        • Don’t blame teachers

          Yeah, Yeah, Yeah…..you are always posting on here how much you can’t stand it that teachers are paid what they are. You also belittle them saying it’s a ‘no brainer’ degree to earn. Wow….that is pretty arrogant of you to say. To be a teacher in Hays and make over $50,000 means you have to work in that profession for quite some time to get to that level. You don’t get that pay on day one. People have posted links in the past of our teachers salaries so it’s public knowledge. Name one teacher who has worked for USD489 under 10 years and makes over $50,000. I, for one, would NOT spend my time and money to earn a degree to only go out and earn pocket change. I’m glad there are at least people that understand the reasoning here and want to keep and pay for quality teachers. Want to save money? Cut something else, especially with some of these local high dollar projects or our out of control state spending. Education and teachers salaries shouldn’t be one of them.

          • joeyb

            just don’t cut into the sports budget, ok?

          • been there done that

            oh we would not want to cut the sports budget, to heck with the arts, sports should always be number one. I hope that everybody is noting the sarcasm that i am projecting here, they should cut that sports budget in half, sports is the reason America is stupid

          • Common Sense

            I agree. If money is plentiful, then ok on funding sports, new activity buses, sodding fields, paying coaches, etc. If money is gone, keep education first priority. Other than this year, teachers were on a wage freeze for a few years and classroom budgets were slashed. Yet sports seemed to get budget approval left and right and that was done before any teacher wage negotiations took place. Seems like the cart before the horse to me. Education is required and needed, sports are extracurricular and optional.

          • Uncle Thomas

            could you eliminate the diatribe and perhaps tell me what your points are

  • Uncle Thomas

    I tried to watch, I tried to listen, I tried to stay alert and focus on last nights BOE meeting. With that stated I am sure I missed a few key points…was I the only one that noticed we hired a “business manager” with an MBA and I don’t believe the camera focused on her for a second, nor did she make a statement…not even a word…not even a head bob. I think we need to cut our losses and hire the right person. Granted she is only taking out of our pockets $70k, but that is $70k too much. I believe she is in over her head and it is time to cut our losses. Next time hire a first round candidate not a third or fourth to make decisions for a district in crisis.

    • What?

      Where do you think the Superintendent gets his information from?? His support staff! Just because she didn’t say anything, doesn’t mean she didn’t contribute. The Superintendent is supposed to take the lead for the district and he did. Sounds personal…did you apply and get rejected?

      • chambers

        she didn’t contribute because she’s not qualified. uncle thomas is right on this pick. we’re stuck with an un-qualified business manager that drains us of $70k. another bad recommendation from the dean and greg.

      • Uncle Thomas

        Wake up… the superintendent received his info from the accounting firm and the current bookkeeper/clerk of the board. The Superintendent is like a coach…he allows his people to shine.