By CRISTINA JANNEY
The Hays USD 489 school district voted to keep the Hays High School technology fee the same despite a recommendation from the administration to drop the fee by $25 for the coming school year.
The HHS technology fee is $50, but the administration recommended decreasing the fee to $25 to match the Hays Middle School fee.
Superintendent John Thissen said the administration was following the direction the board had given several years ago to decrease student fees.
Board member Greg Schwartz balked at the move.
“I think we are going to find out that we don’t have an endless supply of money this year even though we are getting a bunch more,” Schwartz said. “With everything else we have been presented thus far, I don’t know that it will be a good time to start cutting those fees.”
He said he would like the district to look at the possibly cutting fees in other areas.
Schwartz said the fee at HHS was initially set at $50 at the high school because that was the deductible on the insurance for the original devices that were used for HHS one-to-one computer program. The district later decided to self-insure its devices.
He said the district has many facility issues that need to be addressed through the capital outlay fund.
“No one ever addressed the big elephant in the room, which was technology, which accounted for about 20 percent of the capital outlay budget. This is one way to offset that,” he said.
Schwartz said he would be in favor of making HMS’s fee the same as the high school’s.
“If they have to be taken home because they are a necessity, that is a small price to pay for the use of a laptop or an iPad for a complete year,” he said.
Board member Lance Bickle said he also supported keeping the fee the same He noted the Thomas More Prep-Marian technology fee was $140. He said he supported looking at cutting in other areas.
The district decreased its workbook/material fee from $135 to $90 in 2018.
The district already decreased the driver’s education fee by $25 this year. Driver’s education fees in-district students for this summer were $225 and cost for out-of district students were $275. The program had a balance of about $80,000, and the administration recommended the fee change to reduce the surplus over time.
Here is a list of other fees for 2019-20.
- Workbook/material fee at $90
- HHS Activity Fee $66
- HMS Technology fee $25
- HMS Activity Fee $62
- Elementary Breakfast $1.70
- Elementary Lunch $2.70
- Middle School Breakfast $1.70
- Middle School Lunch $2.85
- High School Breakfast $1.70
- High School Lunch $2.95
- Reduced Breakfast $0.30
- Reduced Lunch $0.40
- Adult Breakfast $2.20
- Adult Lunch $3.65
- Extra Milk $0.40
In other business, the board:
• Reauthorized its FY2019 budget. The district received more special education funds than expected because of a higher student count. The district needed the authority to spend the money it received. The change will not affect local taxes.
• Approved the district’s worker’s compensation and cyber liability insurance renewal and renewal of the district’s participation in the Kansas Educational Risk Management Pool.
• Approved a 5 percent cost increase for all districts participating in the West Central Kansas Special Education Cooperative. This includes Hays, Ellis, Victoria and La Crosse. This will amount to $110,000 per year for Hays.
• Approved the renewal of the district’s membership in the Kansas Association of School Boards and the KASB Legal Assistance Fund. Total renewal cost was $15,144.
• Thanked Superintendent John Thissen for his service. This was Thissen’s last school board meeting. He will be replaced by new Superintendent Ron Wilson on July 1.