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Hays teachers, staff receiving job cut notices

KARI BLURTON
Hays Post

Hays USD 489 is notifying teachers and staff district-wide they might not have a job for the 2014-15 school year.

USD 489 Superintendent Dean Katt

USD 489 Superintendent Dean Katt

According to Superintendent Dean Katt, the notices are not official until the USD 489 Board of Education adopts a resolution.

Katt said the possible cuts are “obviously a difficult situation,” and staff still is looking at openings due to resignations that could allow some of possible cuts to be shifted into other areas.

“Its is always an emotional thing for everyone we are talking to,” said Katt, “but we have to balance the budget.”

The district is searching for ways to climb out of an estimated $1.3 million budget hole, with proposals on the table ranging from increases to the local option budget to elimination of all-day kindergarten to changes in the district’s transportation policy.

Katt said the resolution to adopt potential staff cuts will be an agenda item for the April 21 school board meeting at 6:30 p.m. at Rockwell Administration Center.

Kim Schneweis, president of the Hays-NEA teachers union, declined comment, noting the organization could release a statement on the staffing changes in the future.

KSKOLLoct
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  • Yahooserious

    Lmao. So here’s the story. Our USD489 admin. people failed to budget correctly(7th grade sports, ect, ect) so now u may loose your job because of it. WOW! I would not be a happy camper. Another case of someone at the top failing at their duties but the “little guy”(the teacher or other staff) will pay for it. Sounds typical to me. Maybe hold the people who are responsible for budgeting accountable? Nah. Instead well screw the little guy. This community, this county, this state amaze me every day.

    • Chris

      Sounds like it’s going to turn into a toxic work environment. Not knowing if your job will be cut, seeing fellow employees lose their job, having schedules upturned. Not a good way to create an optimal learning environment.

      Even long term teachers may feel the bite. Getting nudged into retirement so that younger (cheaper) teachers can be hired.

  • RuSerious

    So the idea is to cut more jobs from teachers!?! Wasnt that done last year too. Great idea people, cut teachers so there are even larger classes than there are now! You people are not very bright with your crappy ideas!

  • What a mess

    Its not a maybe, it is a done deal. 27 non-tenured teachers are being let go. They are loosing some really good teachers because of years of fiscal irresponsibility. This did not happen overnight. There were ways this could have been avoided, but no one wanted to stir the pot and make those decisions that would ultimately be best. Let’s hope the school board learns from this and makes the tough decisions now so that 5,10 years down the line we don’t have the same problem. Teacher salaries/benefits are the quickest way for them to balance the budget, thus the cuts. Its terrible that now teachers are the ones who suffer. Tenured teachers will be riffed into vacancies that they do not want. For example a fourth grade teacher at Wilson may now have to teach 2nd grade at Washington. Class sizes will be capped out at the highest numbers possible. The quality of education will be affected by this, don’t let anyone convince you otherwise. This is happening people, it’s not a maybe or a could be. On top of all of this, the ones being let go are being told that in the event of hire back (because they will have to hire some back) they will have to apply just like anyone else. They will not have priority over new applicants. Are you kidding me? Ridiculous.

    • Yahooserious

      That is ridiculous. I’m guessing your part of the 489 staff (or soon to be-was-part of the saff)? I’m sorry for all the teachers/staff who are having to deal with this irresponsibility at the top.

      • Reality

        Yahoo, you’re 100% right. Fault lies at Board level and lack of proper planning (i.e. basing budget on a most optimistic enrollment projection, etc). Dean Katt — he’s just the guy brought in to sweep up the pieces and (hopefully) reconstruct budgets going forward.

        • Informed

          And the BOE are just the people that get to clean up this mess. This started at the state level, but was compounded by years of overspending. We currently rank in the top 10 paid teachers and administrators in the state. We have a highly paid staff. The problem is we rank in the bottom of the state for dollars available. Not a good combination.

  • Lefty54

    It is a mess from the USD 489 Central office clear up to the Kansas legislature and Governors office.

    • yahooserious

      ill go a step furhter and say it all starts at the lack luster, fall in line or else Governor’s office.

      Davis/Docking for Gov. – 2014!!

      • passin_threw

        Davis/Docking yet another loss for your side. Sorry about your luck

        • Which “side”?

          Plenty of Republicans voting for Davis/Docking…PLENTY! Including this one.

  • Juls

    Moved here so our children had a chance for a better education.. Should have stayed in Texas.. All these big businesses donating to TMP.. Why not the public schools.. Sickening !

  • Sports over education ?????

    Wow. Just wow. Not one single mention of cutting anything even remotely sports related. Instead…lets fire teachers. I’m not a teacher, but am extremely disgusted. You need to get your priorities together and soon or we’ll have such a poor district, no one will want to send their kids here.

  • Questions

    So technically, the new football coach that was just offered a contract and hired for next year is also “non-tenured” right??? If so, they should re-evaluate that position too. If I were in the position as some of these non-tenured teachers who were given notice, I would take 489 to court if they allowed him to keep his position because there are plenty of certified PE teachers and there are also qualified assistant coaches who wanted the head position and were already teachers in the district.

    • Kansas Native

      You are so uninformed, you’re laughable. Change your name to Noitall.

      • Questions

        Enlighten me then & set me straight!

        • Questions

          Let me set the record straight here. 1. I think coach Black is a great hire 2. I fully support ALL area of athletics, people need to realize that athletics do just as much in the total overall quality educational experience as the fine arts, both are just as important. 3. With that said, I don’t agree with hiring last month & then letting lots of quality teachers go, especially when you have quality people to fill that position in house. So, you or anyone else can comment to justify that, but I really think many would say the same & would agree that this IS hard to justify and it says the wrong message even if I or anyone else supports athletics & all other extra curricular activities that are just as important to ALL students.

          • Common sense

            No, it’s NOT just as important. Education is MORE important. Sports is second. When you’re 40, trying to feed your 3 kids and make the mortgage payment, come back and tell me how sports was what did it all for you.

          • Questions

            Been there done that with mortgage & kids. You don’t get it. Sport & all other extra-curriculars like band,play,FFA, etc, etc ALL play a huge part. Cutting things like that will more likely increase chances of dropouts, academic problems & behavior issues. Sports etc teach life-long lessons, teamwork, responsibility, work ethic, pride, cooperation – do I need to go on? Obviously sports did not play a part in your experience, but for many this is the closest thing to parenting & guidance that a kid may get & those very things are what contribute to the WHOLE educational experience by all of those things working together

          • FHSU grad

            You don’t get it. FIRST, keep our teachers. FIRST, keep class size down. FIRST, educate our kids. Sports is NOT in that list. If you think it’s sooooooooooooooo important, maybe you should fund it. I graduated college. I played sports in school. I own a business. I have kids in school. Speaking from experience, education plays a far, far, far, greater role in life than sports ever will. You don’t fund sports first and then use the leftover money for education.

          • Questions

            I agree FHSU grad. The point I’m making is that I think it’s horrible that we are letting teachers go, but they went out and hired a Football/PE teacher last month and they had qualified teachers in house that would do great in that role. But, what I’m also trying to point out as well is that involvement in those things are just as important to the overall quality of education. Not just sports but also the other extra’s like Music, Art, FFA, FCCLA, debate. Things like these cuts affect all of the programs. Everyone always jumps on the bandwagon and wants to make this a sports vs academic issue – this is an issue that affects all of these things (class size, class flexibility/opportunities, quality education, etc). The majority of the sports programs are mostly self-funded anyway. Sure you have to have updates to facilities for safety reasons and this will always be debated by people regardless and will always be a hot topic.

      • O’Neill Clan

        That’s all you have isn’t it? You don’t know anything so resort to personal insults. I am embarrassed for you.

  • Truth is out!

    So what’s the point of printing this article which may or may not even happen? It sounded to me at the last BOE meeting that members we’re leaning to cutting the busing of students within the 2.5 mile zone, which would cut 10 of the 12 bus routes saving $’s, saving all-day kindergarten and other educational programs.
    Are you giving the school unions a chance to blame the administration & BOE for their woes? While it was really their greed in their negotiations over the years that left this school district and every other school district in the country in debt. Enjoy your retirements most people don’t have them & quit your crying and leave gracefully!

    • Answers

      Their greed?? Come on. Do you not follow what has happened in the last few years? The teachers had a wage freeze for several years. No one got paid anymore based on advanced degrees earned or years teaching. The were also asked to accept more students and perform more duties since retiring and teachers or ones who quit weren’t replaced. Professionals do and should get at least a cost of living increase. Basically, the increase that was finally granted this year, was that….a cost of living increase. You can’t pay a professional the same amount year after year and expect them to stay. Taxes, insurance, groceries, vehicles, housing, etc all increase for them.

      • Grateful

        This wage freeze when was it? There were only two or three years in the last 12 that they did not receive raises. The following two years they received 6% and 5.5% raises. State employees have had wage freezes. When we finally get a pay raise they are no where near 11.5% over 2 years. We sure don’t publicly complain about what we receive.

        • Hays resident

          They did not get a raise for two years in a row. Where did you come up with that????? It was just this last year the board finally gave them a cost of living increase. And that was only a portion of what was requested. On the wage freeze, I’m not sure how long it has went on, but I think it has been about 4 years now.

          • passin_threw

            Let’s compare this to the real world of business. If 489 were a business that had to support itself there would be no money to give raises, layoffs would insure and eventually they would go out of business and we would all understand that. However, you’re wanting to give them raises when the business is failing. Makes not one ounce of fiscal sense

          • Make a smart decision

            Are you serious? The teachers have done a lot for USD489. From taking on extra duties, taking on extra class sizes, cuts in their supply budgets, wage freezes, etc. When they were hired, they were given a sheet that shows earnings year to year and also for earning extra education or degrees. That was not honored. And now you don’t want to even give them a cost of living increase after several years of nothing? If 489 needs to be in the black, start cutting elsewhere, like sports, busing for free, coaches, increase sports event tickets fees, etc. Some things in life aren’t intended to ‘make a profit’. Take public parks. No income from them but they are essential to a community. Same with our schools. It’s for the good of our kids and community.

          • passin_threw

            Then why cut anything if the school is intended to run in the red? Seems like an easy fix in your world

          • Why do we pick only on sports

            Why do we always pick on sorts. Why do we not pick on other extra curricular activities like band, choir, FFA, DECA, Debate etc. Let’s charge a fee to attend band and music concerts. The people making these comments have no clue what the sports budgets are. The majority of items for sports are paid for by the booster club and the kids selling items. Each football player is asked to sell 20 cards at $20 each. This is how sports are funded!! Learn the facts people.

          • Fund our future

            Because I, like many others on this blog, are tired of sports getting everything. Leave education, band, choir, etc alone. My vote is cut SPORTS and make some serious changes to get funding back where it should be.

          • Informed

            I agree that public schools are not meant to make a profit, but finishing in the black is not making a profit. I think we need to just break even. This is required by law. These cuts sound horrible, but what will the actual result be? We heard for years that if we get rid of anything the district will collapse. Yet, here it is still alive and well. We have the great families from this district to thank for that as well as those working in our school system. Instead of beating down our school district and attacking whatever activity or expense we don’t like or our children do not participate in, we should try to put the effort into making things better wherever we as individuals can. That is one of the things that make this community great.

    • Questions

      I guess teachers CAN’T negotiate for better pay or working conditions based on your comment then? Teachers are not the only group to have unions or negotiating rights. Additionally it’s OK for them to take a salary freeze because of mismanagement at the top or miniscule slap in the face pay raises. I think you forget that teachers unions all over the state generally allowed and agreed to freezes or low raises over the years to assist the problem with budgetary issues, yet this is what they get in return – “By the way, I’m sorry but we are going to have to let you go!” On top of that, this move is going to decrease the working environment (more kids in every room, less learning, less individual attention for those who need it and kids who may fall between the cracks academically because there is no way possible to reach them all in this instance). GET REAL!!!

      • Go Brownback!

        Here’s real for you. The Auto unions pushed their customers with more & more lavish benefits. Eventually the Japanese acquired American auto customers. You have survived a lot longer with even more lavish benefits, those days are ending with Charter schools & political leaders that are standing up to your unions! They were voted in by a majority of taxpayers who are tired of the unending tax increases! Don’t tell us you really care about the KIDS!!!

        • Questions

          That might be the dumbest come-back I have ever read. Lavish??? You think what teachers across the US have negotiated for is Lavish? You may want to step into ANY school system and try your hand at education, I doubt you could make it. But, to get back to reality the teachers throughout the US most definitely deserve the right to negotiate just like any other organization for fair and equitable salaries and health benefits, not unlike any other negotiating entity. Take a look at the most recent court ruling that said that the so called voted in majority must now support Public Education that what was being done was not appropriate. Much of the blame should be centered on these individuals, but the top downs in 489 have also played with fire with this for a long time. Punishing teachers is not the answer.

        • Chief59

          Unions have been demonized by the right for years. Membership is currently at an almost all-time low. Wage disparity is at an all-time high. Nope, not a coincidence there.

          Also, unions are not to blame for the rise in import cars and decline of American cars. Import cars became very reliable, while the quality of American cars was suffering. That has nothing to do with unions, it has to do with the auto manufacturers thinking Americans would buy whatever crap they pushed out and being wrong.

          • Reality

            Union costs became more and more onerous for GM through the ’80s and ’90s, where to stay even remotely competitive they had to de-content their cars to meet labor costs, while competition improved their content. Thus, the famous quote about GM being ‘a healthcare company that also sells some cars.’ GM’s competition then built plants in
            right-to-work states in the US when the Yen soared (many Toyota lines
            are built in Kentucky, etc).

            Today, UAW membership is slightly on the rise; about +40K since 2009’s crater, mainly by adding lower-wage casino workers. But attempts to organize transplant automakers (recently, VW’s Chattanooga plant) have failed; workers there must feel they’re adequately compensated and treated well without union representation.

            As for Hays… it’s unfortunate this is happening. The teachers I’ve met have been exceptional; the free busing (not required) and capping sports numbers should be explored more deeply.

          • Chief59

            If you followed the story about the VW plant, most workers feel they were lied to about the unionization. The union vote is being challenged by the UAW. Workers were told that if they unionized VW WOULD NOT build the plant, when the opposite is true. VW fully backed unionization. Senator Bob Corker was leading the charge, even though VW said the exact opposite of his statements.

          • not gov schools

            Since you raise free market concepts….let us bring free markets to education…I.e. School vouchers so parents can pick and afford the schools they choose, including non government schools…kind of a fair distribution according to need

          • Reality

            I followed it also. UAW is challenging because they lost; meanwhile, a group of VW workers is petitioning NLRB to prevent UAW efforts to overturn. Time will tell, but with a vote margin of 64% no, 46% in favor, UAW has a steep uphill fight.

        • Kansas Son

          If you really care about the kids, you would supply them with teachers that are qualified for their field, are not threatened with termination, and are paid a fair wage for their efforts. The less teachers have to worry about those issues, the more they can focus on teaching the students. Additionally, the auto industry is obligated to make a profit, the education industry is supposed to educate our children. Two completely different realms.

          • $$$$

            Where should they get the money for all of these raises and jobs? Maybe you have a money tree they could pick some from.

          • College grad

            Doesn’t matter where the money comes from. Do you want your children to receive a good education? Maybe instead of Hays thinking sports is the greatest thing since sliced bread, they should concentrate some of that money towards education.

    • is that you again Greg

      Every time there is a story that clearly shows how the boe has failed to properly plan and provide for the district, there is always one person taking their (the board’s) side on here in the comments section. I’d be curious to know your identity, because i have a feeling you’re sticking up for the boe for a very personal reason

  • Appalled

    When is this district going to think? You could have cut free busing, eliminate 7th grade sports (which was JUST added), and downsize on sports expenses or even eliminate them. What do they do? FIRE teachers. Come on! The last few years have been awful with teacher funding cut, wage freezes, not hiring replacements, and increasing class size. Now you want to fire them? And they also are increasing fees by $30 to boot. Maybe we should call ourselves ‘USD 489 board of sports’ instead of ‘USD 489 board of education’.

    • Show me

      So you don’t want teachers fired, but you are opposed to a fee to raise money. Where is the money to come from? Which sports do we cut? How do we “downsize”? Should we also downsize on band? How about the musicals and Chamber Singers? These are not required. Should we cut all extra curricular activities? If not, tell us which exact ones to cut. Then we can all evaluate your plan. If everyone likes it we could all go present it to the administration. The principals are the ones who recommended these cuts anyway.

      • Appalled

        The money can come from exactly the items I mentioned. Cut sports and free busing. I never said anything about cutting band, music, etc., I said sports. Cut all sports out for all I care. Fund education (including band & music) first. Use the money that is left over for sports. When that money is gone, then no more sports items are funded. NOT the other way around like they are now funding sports and using the left over money to fund education. Duh.

        • passin_threw

          It’s absurd that you want to narrow cuts to athletics. Why discriminate against the athletes? Why not forensics, arts and FFA as well ?

          • Sports are not golden

            Because sports NEVER, EVER see any cuts to anything. This community is SPORTS, SPORTS, SPORTS! I’d like for once to see something cut in sports so that a teacher could keep his/her job.

          • passin_threw

            Do you really think sports are fully funded?

          • ?

            What needs do the sports teams have that aren’t being met?

          • passin_threw

            Do you have any idea how much money the booster club throws at the needs of the athletic and music departments? Also other fundraising events that help pay for uniforms and equipment. What do you think the baseball team does with money earned when they help with bingo? Uninformed people imply the most ignorant thoughts

          • Informed

            Coaches got cut in this too. Now do you still stand by your statement they never get cut?

          • News

            Where did you read that? As of today, I haven’t read a credible source yet saying coaches were cut. I have read about teachers receiving notices.

          • Brain power

            Then good for them. They SHOULD have to raise their own money. I propose they should also have a ‘pay to play’ fee too. I’m ok with funding education. What I’m not ok with is funding sports when we need the money. New sod, new sports bus, new coaches, etc. Increase ticket fees, take back out 7th grade sports, cut back some at least. Also, calling someone ignorant just paints me a picture of the kind of person you are.

          • Curious Jorge

            And never did answer their question, which was quite reasonable.

          • Brain power

            How much or how little money sports have isn’t the point. What is the point is that sports should be self-funded (player fees, fund raisers, tickets, concessions, etc).

          • passin_threw

            Well genius I didn’t call anyone ignorant I called her uninformed. Sorry I confused you maam

  • jennifer

    Our school board, starting with prima donna greg, is a joke. i can’t believe you want to do this to our dedicated teachers. school board and dean katt should be ashamed of themselves. other things, including sports, need to be trimmed before firing teachers. just shameful.

    • Supporter

      More personal attacks and no thought our logical solutions. What should they cut on sports? Should they cut boys sports or girls sports? Tell me which exact sport they should cut. What else should they trim? The budget is 85% salaries and benefits. Some of these cuts are also reducing assistant coaches. Instead of name calling jennifer why don’t you learn the facts before you start posting.

      • Parent

        How about just plain old cutting sports until we get into the black. Start there first. Jennifer is right to be mad as I am also. Firing teachers should be the last option.

  • Geeze

    How about firing all cooks and order McDonalds for the kids. They would gain weight and we could hire more PE teachers for physical fitness. They could all play football and we could build a bigger weight room. This is easy, why do we need Greg Schwartz, he should apply at Holy Family

  • informed

    We have the top trend wages paid to teachers in the state. Those cut were not just teachers.

  • opinion

    I remember when there was a group of individuals raising money for the weight room. They could not raise enough money so guess who ended up footing the remainder of the bill for that one. These dollars all add up people. A huge lack of leadership. What’s more important sports for our children, or their education?

  • Informed

    This problem is one that started years ago. All other districts dealt with this and had their cuts then. We kept teachers when enrollment dropped as it did this year. When you have fewer kids shouldn’t you have fewer teachers?

  • know it all

    Only 2.5% of the overall budget is spent on sports in this district. Cuts of staff are always hard but in any business, it has to be done sometimes. Now, there is no reason we cannot do ‘pay for play’ for all activities. Understand all the fact before you think you have all the answers.

  • Facts only please!!

    Shame on this reporter and Hays Post news source for putting out what amounts to nothing more than gossip meant to cause Ill will between residents, BOE, USD 489, and it’s unions!

    • read it again

      Did you miss what Katt said? There are possible cuts, and its an agenda item for an upcoming meeting. If you don’t like the information, have a talk with the boe you’re obviously supporting.

    • They are facts Jack

      Not gossip, it is a fact. Teachers have already been cut. Done deal.

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  • Make the right decision

    Let’s imagine that USD 489 was only $100,000 in the red. Let’s also say that adding 7th grade sports cost us exactly $100,000. What would/should the district do? Take 7th grade sports funding back out or fire 3 to 4 new teachers?

  • other shoe

    If cuts need to by made and 20+ teachers may be let go, why did USD 489 place an ad in the paper for a custodian? Can’t we even shift custodians around to save a little money now? Sheer idiocy at its best.

  • Y’all ignant

    If you could all attempt to use even decent grammar, that would be great. How do people expect to be taken seriously when they can’t use the correct form of your?