Hays School District facing budget shortfall

HAYS, Kansas — The Hays district is already dealing with a budget deficit for next year and looking to make some tough choices.

“It’s really difficult, I mean it’s the last thing that we want to do,” said Dean Katt, the USD 489 Superintendent.

The Hays School District is facing a budget shortfall of 1.3 million dollars for next year.

“We saw it coming, it’s kind of unfortunate but we’ll do what we have to do to make sure that our kids stay in school and learn what they need to learn,” said Ralph Callis, the parent of a student in the Hays School District.

School fees in Hays are already high and the school board doesn’t want to raise fees a lot more so they’re looking for a middle ground to balance the budget by making hard cuts and raising school fees.

“Balance that to where we can do what we can to keep our teachers here and class sizes down, and to be able to offer what we are offering, but this is going to make things tough for a couple of years,” said Katt.

The district is considering raising bus fees, cutting back their kindergarten program from full to half days or increasing class sizes.

“It’s very difficult, it’s gut wrenching for the entire administrative staff, for teachers, not knowing what’s going to happen,” said Katt.

For some parents, increased fees are a small request to keep the programs they have.

“Yeah, they have a really good program here and my kids are four. They’re straight A students. They work hard so yeah I’ll do what I can to help out, make sure they maintain that,” said Callis.

People in Hays are encouraged to go to a public meeting next Monday to give their opinions on how to balance the budget for next year.

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