USD 258 slashes budget by $50K

By ANNE KAZMIERCZAK
Register Reporter

HUMBOLDT — A handful of budget reductions were the biggest news at the USD 258 board meeting Monday. Leaving some positions vacant and reducing hours in others should save the district $48,566.
Some of the savings will come from changing the way certain teachers are paid.
Currently, vocational agriculture, family and consumer science, journalism and building trades teachers are paid through extended contracts, providing a longer work year for those teachers at their regular salary rate.
The positions will be shifted to hourly pay in the new school year, with a requirement that the teachers justify the hours they spend preparing for those courses.
Under the old system, the teachers had “additional days at the start and end of the school year to get their programs up and running,” said Superintendent Bob Heigele. “Some of that time wasn’t being utilized to its full extent, so we’re doing away with the extended contract. There will be a time card and activities will have to be preapproved,” Heigele said.
Estimated savings from the changes: $26,800.
Another $10,000 will be cut from the budget by eliminating student accidental disability insurance. The supplemental policy covered students during school time, and basically paid anything in excess after a family’s personal coverage ended, said board clerk Lori Buchholz. The district currently pays the premium.
At the superintendent’s office, a secretary position will be reduced from a 12 month to a 10.5 month contract, saving $4,272.
Two assistant varsity football coach positions, currently vacant, will not be filled, saving the district $5,000.
A varsity golf coach position will not be filled, for savings of $2,500.
A budget adjustment was made to transfer funding of one elementary teacher and two aides to Title 1 funding.
Board president Chris Bauer attended the Kansas Association of School Boards meeting last week where state budget updates were being called in via cell phone as soon as they occurred at the legislature. “A lot of school s are cutting a lot of stuff that we don’t have to cut,” Bauer said.
Heigele responded, “We’re blessed here in Humboldt.”
Two resignations were accepted by the board. High school counselor Jason Freebach and high school physical education teacher Travis Burk both resigned to accept similar positions in Chanute. Both men also served as football coaches.
Retiring teacher Gayla Banz was honored with a mantle clock for her years of service. “She was one of those teachers who was always there for the students,” Buchholz said. Banz served 25 years in Humboldt, and 31 years total as a teacher.
Three other teachers were recognized for 25 years of service. High school chemistry/phyics/physical science teacher Pamela Fewins, third grade teacher Linda Honas and elementary music teacher Oliver Walker all received plaques denoting their dedication.