HAYS, Kan. — Hays schools continue to make some tough choices, as they deal with a 1.3 million dollar budget shortfall.
Now, amidst discussion of new fees, there is some hope of saving teachers jobs.
Andrea Dinkel is one parent who’s five-year-old will be starting kindergarten next year says, “They’ve cut a lot of teachers and teachers are the foundation of education, and I just don’t think that cutting teachers is the way to go.”
With sixteen teachers already planned to be cut, Hays schools are considering raising fees, and cutting some bus routes.
Several parents say that they would be willing to pay extra fees to the school to help them make up their budget deficit but they’re still worried about the loss of teachers.
So the district is hoping that residents will approve increasing taxes, with a local option vote this summer.
If approved by voters, local property taxes would go up, the average resident would pay nineteen cents more per month.
In all, it would generate $200,000 for the district and would allow Hays to re-hire elementary teachers that plan to be cut.
Hays School Board members Marty Patterson and James Leiker said, “We have spent our money wisely on our kids, we don’t have any in reserve right now, and I would like to as a whole instead of every other year we kind of take into account who gets first and who gets last and this year looking at it and prioritize those programs.”
The local option budget increase couldn’t save all the teachers jobs but some parents say, its worth it.
Kristin Kosmicki, mom of two kids in Hays schools said, “You know if they want to add anymore I’d be happy to pay more just to keep the teachers that are there, I think that classroom size is important, so keeping what they have I think is a great thing to do.”
The public vote on the local option budget will be held in June, but the board of education will discuss possible fee increases at their board meeting next week.