Hays school district not meeting ADA requirements

Lincoln Elementary School in Hays, Kansas is not ADA compliant due to access for individuals with mobility issues. Courtesy KSN News

HAYS, Kan. (KSNW) – Several schools in northwest Kansas aren’t meeting ADA requirements.

Right now, the Hays school district is struggling to provide the basic accommodations for those with disabilities. Most of the buildings have stairs but no elevators, making it difficult for those with mobility issues to access the building.

The superintendent said it’s becoming inconvenient.

“Maybe even the word is embarrassing,” said John Thissen USD 489 superintendent.

Thissen has been superintendent for a little more than a year. He said it’s time to get schools fully ADA compliant.

“Not a lot of focus had been placed on that 20 years ago,” Thissen said.

Right now, only the middle and high schools are considered ADA compliant. One of the biggest issues is at Lincoln Elementary School, where the main entrance, basement and second floor can only be accessed by stairs. The basement is also where the cafeteria is located.

Thissen said if a student at Lincoln Elementary has mobility issues, the school has to put him or her in a different building.

Thissen also said they didn’t have issues like that this year, but that doesn’t mean it won’t happen in the future, and that’s why he’s hoping a school bond could help fund some of these renovations.

Specifics of the bond are still int the works, but Thissen said the money could come from an increase in property taxes, possibly $10-15 per month.

The district conducted a survey earlier this year, where 83 percent of people said they would support a school bond focused on facility improvements.