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Retirements allow USD 489 to bring back five non-renewed teachers

By KARI BLURTON
Hays Post

Hays USD 489 has rehired five teachers for the 2014-15 school year.

USD 489

“The teachers previously non-renewed were rehired to refill necessary vacancies due to retirements,” said district spokeswoman Elizabeth Jaeger.

The teachers rehired and their school assignments are:

• Sarah Smith, Washington Elementary, fourth grade
• Betsy Forinash, Lincoln Elementary, fourth grade
• Erin Flax, Wilson Elementary, third grade
• Leslie Karlin, Wilson Elementary, fifth grade
• Allison Kitchen, Hays Middle School, sixth grade

Facing more than a $1 million budget shortfall for the 2014-15 school year, the USD 489 school board this spring moved to cut 16 staff positions for the upcoming year. The retirement announcements opened positions and allowed some of those affected to be brought back. Overall, however, the number of staff positions to be cut remains the same.

“Teachers the district would rehire to reduce class size K-6th grades, where reductions were made in April, will be dependent on the outcome of the local option budget election this month and a decision by the Board of Education,” Jaeger said.

LOB BREAKDOWN

The board has said if the LOB measure is approved, the No. 1 priority is rehiring more teachers to help reduce elementary class sizes.

On June 11, Hays residents will receive a mail-in ballot asking that the LOB be raised from 30 percent to 31 percent — a move expected to generate $200,000 in additional revenue for the USD 489 district. Should that measure be approved by voters, the school board has the right to increase the LOB to either 32 percent or 33 percent for one year, after which it would revert to 31 percent.

For more on the upcoming LOB mail-in ballot, click HERE.

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  • posterb

    great. cut some of those high expensive administrative positions and bring back the rest of the teachers you fired.

    • D Leg

      Like hiring a new football coach who will make close to $80,000 if not more. Hope not making state EVER!! is worth that much.

      • A_citizen_patriot

        That includes his teaching salary as well.

        • 80k?

          I’m sure the 80k includes a teaching salary of probably 50k with supplements for football, track, and weights of probably 10k each. They might even allocate some to morning weights, after school weights (when football and track aren’t going) and summer weights.

          • signin

            what particular classes does this football coach teach? math, science? or does he get paid to coach track and football and teach weight lifting?? somebody set the record straight once and for all and break his salary down and tell us what classes he teaches?

          • BusinessChic

            The football coach where I teach, not 489, is the social studies teacher. He is VERY good at what he does – one of the best social studies teachers I’ve ever seen! He’s great in the classroom and on the field. He spends every morning and all summer in the weight room with kids. He also coaches junior high basketball and high school track. Oh, did I mention that he has a family at home, too? I think the wages he earns is NOT ENOUGH! I do not envy his job one bit.

      • Coaches pay

        It would be nice if once and for all someone with a credible answer would post just the football coaching only pay figure so no more confusion. Then we could all determine if that amount is too much or spot on.

        • 6000

          $6000 is the pay to coach football

      • Real Genius

        Do you think the BOE or admin determines that pay? Well they don’t, so take it up with the HNEA.

    • Logic 101

      So, are you saying we need less admin, lower salaries for admin or both? Why do you suggest that our district should have less leadership? Seems to me that a lack of supervision, especially from the district office has contributed greatly to our financial problems. What positions are you specifically targeting? Something else I find interesting, from viewing the meetings it has been stated that the only true curriculum change is the elimination of middle school Spanish via Rosetta Stone. With the exception of the elementary school teachers (3 I believe yet to be filled in order to reduce class sizes) I find it interesting that we obviously have enough teachers in our district to cover our class needs. Due to contracted hours no one is teaching more then anyone else which leads to the conclusion that we had too many teachers. Why pay more just to have more, especially when so many people are hammering on the BOE to do more with less.

      • Open mind

        While I hate seeing teachers let go you do have a point. To take it a step further, it is my impression from the info that it was the school principals who determined the non-renewals, if they are comfortable then shouldn’t we respect their decision. I know it’s not popular and is unfortunate for many families, but it may very well be positive for our district. Time will tell.

      • Susan

        I’m not sure how things are reported to the public, but here is my personal experience. My child was receiving special instruction in a Hays grade-school as he had problems keeping up in class in two subjects. The next year, he didn’t receive this and when we asked why, I was told it was due to budget cuts and no longer offered. Also, while maybe no actual classes are being dropped, it can result in an increase of the teacher student ratio. So instead of it being say 20 students per teacher, with the loss of 16 teachers, it may now be 24 students per teacher in order to keep all classes offered.

      • thermo

        you hit the nail on the head. why pay more just to have more. i agree. have we trimmed everywhere? teachers, administration etc? maybe we don’t need all those assistant principals. at one time the administration sent out the word that every employee may need to take a 10% pay cut to help the cause. what happened to that. maybe we have too many teachers? the teachers union and board start negotiations next couple of weeks. something to talk about. our board has also made some pretty dumb moves. gus wasn’t budgeted for but they had to have him for $60,000. 7th grade sports wasn’t budgeted but they had to have that. they replaced the football coach and had to give that guy a raise. that wasn’t budgeted for. i think there’s plenty of room for more trimming at usd 489. let’s do that first before jumpin on the taxpayers for more money with the LOB. sorry, i’m voting no this time. besides you can be assured the board will jump that LOB up to 33% taking more money out of our pockets. and some of you may not care but i do worry how all these tax gigs our government leaders are taking from us affect those on fixed incomes.

        • Time for change

          I’m with you on all things except the 10% pay cut for teachers. If you need to cut, start with sports. Way, way, way too much money going into that and I don’t see them cutting hardly anything. Sports are an extra we don’t have to have funded to the level it is. And if pay is to be cut, shouldn’t it be coaches pay? If I was a teacher, I’d balk at someone asking me to take a pay cut when we’re still spending $300,000 to $500,000 on sports and coaches pay and fuel, transportation, food, stadium rental, uniforms, helmets, etc. When times are tough and money is in short supply, we can cut out the extras. If you have to have sports in your life, take your kids to the park, sign up at Hays Rec, or form your own after school team. Pay to play is an option too. Start exhausting those resources before cutting into education.

          • Enough sports bashing

            I am so tried of people talking about “cut sports” “coaches getting paid too much” “why don’t we cut 7th grade sports”. All of you saying this must not have had kids or have kids play sports. A lot of time is put into being an athlete and also takes being a good student. You have to carry a certain GPA with many monitoring this throughout the year. Stop with the bashing of sports! Nobody seems to complain about the other activities that require additional dollars going to teachers ie FFA, DECA, Drama. You think the teachers that sponsor these activities don’t have additional monies paid to them on top of their salaries.

          • Hmmm

            That’s because us parents have a problem with the choice that was made. When money is tight, you can cut from education or you can cut from sports. The board chose to cut from education. I can’t rationalize the firing of 16 teachers (some that were there for several years) when we are writing a check for sports activities to the tune of almost 1/2 a million.

          • Mrs. Fisher

            Amen!

          • eightball

            core, quality education always trumps the other stuff which includes sports.

          • Missed memo

            Tell that to our school board. They didn’t get that memo apparently.

          • Guest

            I would love to hear more about the GPA requirements. As the parent of a 7th-grader involved in sports this past year, I was under the impression the students could play unless they were failing a class. That’s hardly what I’d consider maintaining an acceptable GPA, and from what I saw no one monitored the grades unless and until a student fell to that level.

          • Mrs. Fisher

            That’s true…they are not required to hold anything more than a C-…but usually no one says anything unless they have 2 F’s

          • Mrs. Fisher

            I think ALL extras in these times need to be cut out! ALL OF IT! Our society seems to think that school is the place to teach your kids lessons like sportsmanship, good ethics, being on time, how to play an instrument, getting ready for college…those are all the parents responsibility. The schools have bent under the pressure of what parents want and expect them to teach their children. So much so that now, the entire reason for school…ACADEMICS is what falls by the wayside. Our scores in math and science compared to other countries makes us keenly aware of it. We need to go back to basics in schools. Reading, math, history, science, English, geography, political science, world events etc.These kids are learning more crap than anyone needs in a day but yet still walk out of there with a cap and gown at graduation not knowing what the capitol of the united states is or even how to read past a 5th grade level ( the average reading level for a graduating student in the united states right now ). Parents, if you want your child to play an instrument, learn dance, be in a play or play sports, then maybe you should consider paying for those lessons. Our schools need to get back to bare basics and I bet we would see the scores and intelligence level of all of our students come up dramatically! It would also reduce the operating costs by about half and probably no longer require parents to pay 200 dollar fees to enroll their kids every year due to ” extra fees “.

        • Local

          I can say, previously working within the district, that assistant principles are rather necessary. principles are so busy in administrative meetings, etc. (especially in stages like this, of great change), that they don’t have near the time they need to interact with teachers, staff, and students. the assistant principle fills the void here.

          • local

            principal. good lord. sorry.

  • Got what you want

    No one will ever be happy with what happens. Losing great teachers to the pressure of the board. Hope everyone is happy

    • Big Girl

      How do you know they were all great?

      • Mrs. Fisher

        Even if they weren’t…the fact is…if your child has an issue with a subject in class…they will not be able to help because they have 25 or 30 other kids to teach. Therefore several children in every class will fall behind as a rule. The larger the class size, the less the teacher can assist each student.

        • passin_threw

          If my child has an issue with a class I’d step up and help my child. If you aren’t capable of that then hire a tutor, we have the luxury of having a college with many able bodied students that would love to tutor for some cash.

  • own up to mistakes

    I’d respect this district more if the board would come out and admit that paying gus for his “services” was a poor choice given how little they understood about the budget situation at the time.

  • Lefty54

    I enjoy reading the sports discussions on here. I think the bottom line is- every community and school district has to decide how important high school sports will be.
    Hutchison has decided that football is important. They pay the head coach and his staff well and they have been wildly successful. More state championships than Hays can even dream of.
    McPherson has decided that basketball is important. They pay their coaches well and have been wildly successful. More state championships than Hays can even dream of.
    It is possible to have strong academics and strong athletics. The community just has to decide if it is important. Most of the people here say athletics are not important. The thousands of people attending football games on Friday nights would say that athletics are important.

    • Pay your own way

      Then maybe they should charge (or charge more) to get in to watch the games if they are that popular. I like to watch movies, but I pay 100% of the ticket price and don’t expect the taxpayers to foot that bill for me. When you start paying larger and larger sums of cash and outsource coaches from all over for the sole purpose of winning games and that money is from taxpayer school funding dollars, it is wrong in my opinion.

    • beamerjohn

      so in other words if you want your kid to be good in football move to Hutchinson. if your kid is into basketball move to McPherson. but if you want your kid to have a good education, stay in hays

      • Lefty54

        I’m sure Hutch High and McPherson High can match Merit Scholar for Merit Scholar at Hays High and academic scholarship for academic scholarship at Hays High. My point is- it is possible to be strong at athletics and strong academically. A community has to make that decision.
        McPherson has great K-12 facilities and are currently adding on to 3 elementary buildings thanks to a bond issue that passed. They added a wing to the high school thanks to a bond issue that passed.

        • chompin

          but i bet their budgets are balanced and their school board members and administration are smart unlike ours that have no clue what’s going on half the time. spend and when you can’t balance a budget go to the taxpayers for more.

          • poppyseed

            exactly

          • Stupido

            Yeah, you’re probably right. The Hutch community supports its school district by passing massive bond issues whenever possible and doesn’t have whiny, Hays Post punks trashing community leaders on a whim. Teacher pay and benefits are not nearly what we have and they experience delinquency at a level not even comparable to ours. But yeah, they are much smarter…while you are the true idiot.

          • metallicaboy

            now we’re punks because we don’t agree with you? ever hear of freedom of speech? please–move to mcpherson or hutchinson. get away from all us punks.

          • Stupido

            I didn’t post anything to be agreed with, I provided some tiny insight on why their districts are better off financially. Can you read? I’m being serious, can you read? Señor chompin made the comment that other boards and admin must be smarter than ours here in Hays, yet takes into consideration no other differences. And yes, people who make such claims are punks and if you are in agreement with the post from chompin then you are an ignorant punk as well.

          • Stupido

            Nah, I’m good right here. You represent the opposite of what this community stands for and your vocal minority is similar to a lap dog that barks at everything…yeah, you’re loud but nobody takes you serious.

          • Mrs. Fisher

            Actually they are not ” community LEADERS ” They are community servants! They are there to serve the good of the public school system…Just like a police officer, they are there to serve the good of the public, not LEAD, this is a democracy. Their job is to actually listen to what the public WANTS ( not what the board member thinks! ) and weigh their decisions based on those requests and the best interests of the students whom they are truly serving and the school system as a whole. They are not there to inflate their own ego by fantasizing that they are ” leading the community ” or have some type of power hunger that causes them to want these positions. If that’s the case, they are there for the wrong reasons and should be replaced. If they want to be powerful politicians, maybe they should consider going to a larger city like Washington DC.

          • Stupido

            And for the record our budget IS balanced for next year. So what exactly is the point of your statement? And let me guess, you think Hays is the first district to go through a financial hardship that’s results in layoffs…?

          • Mrs. Fisher

            Until more cuts come….and there WILL be more cuts. The boards job is to prepare for the future as well. sometimes I wonder about the priorities of this community. Fire teachers to keep football, tell 134 people not to fill pools but have no problem with 5000 people watering their lawns daily during a water shortage it makes no sense what so ever.

          • 489 Parent

            Cut teachers to keep football…? What are you even saying? So without terminating any teachers, please tell us how you overcome the 1.3 million shortage? Put your money where your mouth is…let’s hear some suggestions rather then just criticisms.

          • Time for changes

            Well, you might not eliminate all 1.3 million of it, but by cutting out the thousands and thousands going into football, it sure as heck would help. How much is going to rent FHSU stadium, pay the coach, fuel for the bus, pay for the bus driver, uniforms, helmets, etc. Enough to keep a few of the fired teachers I’m sure.

          • You’re Funny

            No, we don’t spend 60k on football. 60k is an average district package for a teacher. Why are you singling out football anyway? Per the superintendent at one of the past board meetings, over 200k was needed to retain the 3 elementary school teaching positions. Lewis Field rental is $9600, football coach pay (all coaches combined) is below 20k, district contribution to program is 3k, transportation is nominal, maybe $1500. What did you think was injected into the program? And no, it wouldn’t save even 1 teaching position!

          • Parent

            You are so misled. Most of the teachers fired were only 1 to 3 year teachers. They don’t make 60k. Look up the paychart for the facts. Even if you do add in benefits, you have to work there for quite a few years to come close to 60k in total package dollars. Even a teacher with a masters and 6 years of teachers, as I recall, only makes 45k salary at USD 489. There is still big dollars being spent on sports aka taxpayer money. Don’t lie to try to validate all that spending.

          • Past teacher

            Look up the public info on pay. Just 3 teachers rehired above in this article I looked up and it came to 35K TOTAL to have those 3 hired back. Here’s the link http://www.kansasopengov.org/SchoolDistricts/PayrollListing/HaysPayroll Yes…..maybe cutting sports would actually help to keep teachers jobs!

        • boppers

          sounds like you should move to mcpherson. its your kind of town.

        • Mrs. Fisher

          Sounds like A LOT of bond issues and A LOT of taxes extra. We are already inching closer to 10% sales tax in Hays. Residents are tapped out! I am tired of paying for all of these little extras everyone wants and yet cant water my lawn! In my home, if my budget doesn’t go far enough, I don’t go out and start asking my neighbors to cover my expenses! I tighten my belt and start eliminating the unnecessary things in my life…entertainment, eating out, day at the spa, hair cuts…In our school district this is the same issue. This issue will only get worse until the priorities are put into the right order. Education first, sports and recreation second. At this point, we can’t even afford the education so the sports is really a no brainer! Get rid of it. If you think your kid is Peyton Manning, you need to move to another state or City where they will ” appreciate ” his talents!

          • Mr Fisher

            Quit worrying about sports and whats fair or not to cut. Sports will not ever get cut here or any other schools in the state, it sounds like a lot of you naggers and complainers would much better fit across town at TMP where they don’t put emphasis on sports. Or my guess would also be that a lot on here are private school supporters anyway and deep down also always wanted to go to HHS. If it were a choice to the kids,Im sure many of TMP kids would choose to go to anywhere but where mom and dad went and would love the other options other schools can offer, athletically and academically. Sports will go nowhere so why the nonstop bashing,its like you all are still mad you got cut from tball or couldn’t do a pull-up in gym so now is the time to get back at anyone who supports sports. Take a look at all the small towns around here and you will find supporters of athletics,just the division of Hays to have all the haters..

          • stone_cold_steve_austin

            I love it. You criticize Mrs. Fisher for bashing sports and then you proceed to bash TMP-Marian. You obviously have no clue what TMP-Marian is about so best you use examples in which you are educated.

          • Touché

            Why are you leaving Mrs. Fisher out of your lecture? Ok for one but not both?? Kinda hypocritical aren’t ya?

          • stone_cold_steve_austin

            Not at all. Mrs. is living in the fantasy world in which one thinks that a school district is going to eliminate all activities. Obviously that will never happen. Mr. decided to bash another school which has nothing to do with this topic.

          • Touché

            Equally crazy and ridiculous. Thank you for acknowledging both. I retract my previous post now. Good day.

          • Taxed out taxpayer

            ‘Sports will not ever get cut here’. Wow. What an audacious comment you made. If you live in Hays, whether you own a house or rent, a lot of your money is going to fund these school sports via property taxes. My vote is we DO start cutting the funding to them. If you think your sports are so precious, then maybe it’s about time you started to pay to play them out of your own pocket.

          • Citizen

            Spoken by someone who is truly clueless on what sports, music, art, band, DECA, debate, etc…do for a child. Concepts such as teamwork, creativity, taking risks, picking yourself up when you don’t feel you can go on, time management, competing, etc…are all invaluable skills more readily obtained via other avenues then sitting at a desk. I feel we have an inflated curriculum, especially at the high school but you truly have no concept of what your “cut it all” suggestion would unleash. I’m sorry you are so detached but there is nothing going on with our district that most every other district has experienced at one time or another. Everything will get worked out and we will be better for it in the long run. Tough times allow negative people the power to spread ill will like a disease, fortunately there are cures. By the way, your arguments lose great credibility when you speak in terms of absolutes and extremes. And while elected officials are public servants they are community leaders as well. A large part of their duty is to effectively lead on behalf of those who elected them. A police officer and senator are not the same (I read one of your other posts and thought I’d address it here). Sorry you weren’t elected to the school board and I can clearly see why.

    • ender

      when you talk about thousands of people attending friday night football games you are not talking about hays high football. i attend those games. not that many people attend them. for all the money spent on hays high football those stands ain’t packed with fans my friends.

      • wrong games bro

        You must be confused and going to TMP games, HHS games are packed but the bad thing is that FHSU gets all the $$ and bend over HHS any chance they get-concessions and all go to them while HHS has to pay them any time they play or practice there, good relationship but HHS will never have their own stadium-they have nothing but trash out there

        • Too much expense

          Sounds like you hit the nail on the head! We’re bleeding money in football, yet to cover our deficit, we instead fire teachers and increase enrollment fees. If you want to play football, it’s free. If you want drivers ed, cough up $400. If you have 3 kids in school, cough up $160 * 3 = $480 in August along with the cost of all the school supplies.

          • beamerjohn

            yeah but my kid can catch and throw a football in front of that “packed” crowd at lewis field stadium! who cares about you coughing up $480+. as long as my kid can play football. he’s the next peyton manning.

          • Mrs. Fisher

            LOL! That is SO the attitude of some parents!

      • Guest

        Yeah, because $5.00 a person to get in isn’t expensive enough already. And that money doesn’t go to HHS, by the way. It goes to FHSU.