Enrollment fees, pay-to-play discussed by USD 489 board

Hays Post

Increasing fees and reducing bus routes in an effort reduce the districts $1.3 million budget deficit were discussed at length at  Monday’s USD 489 Board of Education work session.

Superintendent Dean Katt, USD 489 staff and board members discussed the possibility of raising the workbook/enrollment fee by anywhere frm $30 to $50.  The current fee is $100. According to Tracy Kaiser, USD 489 business manager,  the proposed  increases would generate as much as $88,950 if the fee were increased to $50.

A proposed kindergarten fee of $400 for the 2014-15 school year also was discussed, a move Kaiser  said would generate $54,800.

Kaiser noted students on the federal free lunch policy would be exempt from fees, and students on the reduced lunch plan would pay reduced fees.

She said the district would continue to work with those unable to pay the entire fee up front through payment plans.

Kaiser also offered various scenarios to include a pay-to-participate fee for sports and activities in which Hays Middle School students would pay a $25 fee to participate in sports and activities and Hays High School students would require a $50 fee pay-to-participate fee. According to Kaiser, the potential revenue amounts to a little more than $32,000 at the Hays Middle School and another $64,2oo if the fee were imposed at Hays High.

“If we are looking at kindergarten fees and transportation, I think we have to look at (pay-to-participate fees),” board President Greg Schwartz said.

Board member Josh Waddell expressed concern a pay-to-participate fee would affect fundraisers, which currently make up for a big portion of sports and activity funding.

“What I keep hearing (from residents) that if they have to pay-to-participate then ‘I’m not doing any fundraising,’ ” he said.

Board member Marty Patterson also expressed concern for parents who pay a fee for their student to play a sport and become upset if their child ends up becoming a “bench-warmer.”

Administration and board members also discussed options regarding transportation provided by Russ Henningsen, USD 489 transportation director.  The options ranged from charging a $150 fee for busing students who live within two miles of the school they attend, not busing any students who live within a 2.5 radius, busing only special-education students, Head Start students and students outside the city limits.

The board and administration narrowed the eight options down to two, which will be discussed at next week’s board meeting.

The two options include no busing at all and pay mileage reimbursement to everyone outside the 2.5-mile radius; and bus students who live more than 2.5 miles from the school they attend, continue to bus students on “rural routes” and maintain the mileage reimbursement for families in rural areas who live more than a mile from the nearest bus stop.

Henningson said the latter option is the most common plan in the state and allows for the district to still maintain FTE weighting — an reimbursement of more than $230,000.

All items were moved to agenda for further discussion at Monday’s school board meeting at 6:30 p.m. at Rockwell Administration Building.

Related story: Educators will begin LOB talking tour.

Related story: USD 489 outlines costs associated with specific programs.

  • Uncle Si

    “A proposed kindergarten fee of $400 for the 2014-15 school year also was discussed.”
    I am for this as long as they eliminate the smart start for Kindergarten at Wilson School (1/2 Days for the first week). I am not sure if they realize how much of an inconvience this will have on parents that work full time. Not to mention having to leave work to pick up or drop off and then to find someone to watch your child during this time.

    • passin_threw

      I agree, kids are such an inconvenience

  • Phil

    Kaiser said would generate $54,800? If you take 54,800 / 400 = 137

    So they are saying that there are only going to be 137 kids in Kindergartens at USD 489 next year?
    If you take the number of schools times average kids per class = kindergartens next year.
    5 x 70 = 350
    Then calculate the average of how many DO NOT have to pay the $400 fee.
    This makes more sense to me
    350 kids x $150 each = $52,500

    • Reality

      Phil, your math is correct, but I believe where 137 comes in is because a large number of kindergarteners fall under free/reduced lunch guidelines, and those families would be exempt from all (or a portion) of the fees.

      USDA guidelines say children from family of 4 earning $44,123 or less get reduced-price meals (and fees), while a child from a family of 4 earning $31,000 or less gets free meals. Earnings is pre-tax or pre-deduction income.

  • Concerned Parent/Taxpayer

    Sure is funny, surrounding smaller schools cap their enrollment fees for family that has 3 or more kids, def. just a money grabber here at USD 489. So sad to think our taxes should be enough, but since they don’t know how to follow a budget that they put in place now they want us to clean up their mess! So in order for my kids to get enrolled it is going to cost me over 500 and that does not include the massive list of stuff they require them to have to attend, again more stuff our tax money should already be covering. I just feel they will keep taxing and taxing and asking for more and more money….when will it stop!!! Sometimes you can’t always have the best of the best and believe you me every damn kid having a planner is ridiculous, those are not cheap. Have them write their assignments down on a notebook, honestly the only thing my children use it for is for me to sign and send back to the teacher……they need to look into their General Fund and see what other things like this that they can cut, before they ask all of us parents/tax payers to foot the bill!!!!

    • passin_threw

      Like Uncle Si said ” you shoulda kept it in your pants if you’re so inconvenienced”

      • Concerned Parent/Taxpayer

        Bahahaha, now that is funny, OUR WONDERFUL CHILDREN ARE ADOPTED!!!! I will pay and do what ever it takes for them to get the best education. I was just trying to make a point that some things that they currently have in the budget are not necessary.

        • Reality

          Thank you for adopting, and for keeping your sense of humor!

          • Concerned Parent/Taxpayer

            Awww, Thank You!!! Can’t imagine life without our Wonderful kiddos!!!!

    • bonnie

      so concerned parent/taxpayer, i guess you’ll be voting NO on the upcoming LOB election. i agree with ya. me too. VOTE NO!

      • Concerned Parent/Taxpayer

        Yep, no for me!!! WIsh I trusted them enough to just call and say my vote is NO, SAVE THE STAMP!!!! Lord only knows how much that will cost them. Oh wait,bulk mailing, one time a year permit fee. I guess they had that expense calculated right. Heck were in the hole 1.3 now, it amazes me we are digging deep to find enough money to pay someone to give LOB tour talks! Mail out voting ballots! and heck even have a few dollars to bring the teachers an appreciation gift, just to try and pursued us to vote Yes! Too late for me!!!!

  • Fairness

    Make sports pay to play! If , because of that, they don’t want to do any fundraising or are upset they are a benchwarmer, then don’t go out. Why should I have to pay an extra $50 per child for education when you pay $0 per child to play sports at my expense? I don’t care how ‘little’ it raises, do your part too!

  • Amazed

    What is going on in Mr. Patterson’s and Mr. Waddel’s heads? They sit quietly while a $400.00 kindergarten fee is proposed and then become mightily concerned when a $25.00 pay to play fee is discussed. Early childhood education is critical in brain development and not a wit of concern is shown. Watch out people! Football brains running the show will only get us into more trouble.

    • Steve

      I agree Phil. Something just doesn’t sit right with me when football and basketball takes over and education is given the shaft.

      • Funny People

        The shaft, are you serious? Over $20,000,000 is spent directly on education. I hardly think that qualifies as getting the shaft. But, if our district spent $20,479,000 on education then all would be fine?

    • Get it right

      While I might not agree with all tne BOE decisions, I was at the work session last night. Waddell and Patterson were not opposed to a pay to play scenario. They simply brought up some of the negative comments expressed to them by community members. What is wrong with that?

  • flyerhigh

    isn’t it amazing that board members like patterson and waddel start squirming when a fee is even proposed to pay sports?? go ahead fire teachers, cut out band and arts. but don’t touch sports!!!

  • Guest

    You know, let’s look into the option of not paying any taxes and each parent becomes responsible for the full cost of education for their student. That’s about $13,000 per student per year. This cost does not include supplies or lunch. Of course, if one opts for that they do not benefit from any other tax-funded services.

    I say this “tongue-in cheek,” but people need to understand that education is an expensive and complicated business. Everyone wants the highest quality, but does not want to pay for the value–that’s the American way! Every single person in this community and state benefits from high quality educated graduates from the local education system which includes curricular and co-curricular activities.

    Time and energy can be spent pointing fingers and laying blame or the efforts can be spent looking for solutions to the growing problem. Remember, the members of the school board are elected officials–we all have a part of the responsibility in this situation. The fact of the matter is that the current funding model does not cover the growing expenses of providing a quality education. For that to continue, the gap has to be covered and that comes from the pockets of the community that will eventually benefit from quality education.

  • MichaelLoBurgio

    Vote democrats get the teaparty koch bought and paid for gop representatives out of Topeka.

  • MichaelLoBurgio

    Your new football coach is making over $100,000 dollars just like he did in Great Bend

    • You know nothing

      Don’t speak unless you have some facts, which you don’t because that is not true. Bottom line is he is making $6000 to coach football, $4000 boys track and $4000 for girls track the rest of his salary is teaching. So if you think he makes to much then that means you think teachers make to much because the hours a teacher teaches is less than what he will spend coaching and he teaches on top of that. That also means he will influence twice as many kids as a teacher will but not make twice the money. Don’t make things up just to sound smart because you end up sounding stupid.

  • Class of 09

    Ok I 23 went to hays high class of 09 and if it was not for football and wrestling, welding class, woods class and mr. Dinkels classes I would have not made it through high school it’s the sports and extra classes that keep kids interested in school. I think you take that away and you will see more drugs and drinking more drop outs.