Frequently Asked Questions

Questions and answers will be added as they arise. Please check back often as more are added.

How was the bond created?

The scope of the bond was created by 75+ people who made up the Visioning Committee which consisted of educators, community members, parents, and city leaders. This group met monthly, putting in over 1500+ hours to conduct research, brainstorm and determine what the highest needs were in our district. Based upon that, they created a scope focusing on the districts needs as well as being financially responsible. Visioning Committee Notes and Presentations

How much is the bond?

The bond is 143.5 million dollars which will be financed over 30 years.

What will the bond fund?

ALL facilities and levels of education will be touched with this bond. The bond will fund the building of a new high school with site development equivalent of a 5A school in Kansas, converting current high school to a middle school, renovating current middle school to an elementary school, renovating with expansion at both Roosevelt Elementary and O'Loughlin Elementary and move Rockwell Administration and Westside School to Wilson Elementary. Bond Scope broken down

When will the bond projects be completed?

The construction of the new high school is set to be completed and ready for the start of school in Fall of 2024. The Fall of 2025 is set as the opening date of the remaining buildings and renovations to be completed. Please note, construction plans and timelines can change once the building process begins.

When is the bond and sales tax election day?

The bond and sales tax election is May 10, 2022.

How do I register to vote?

Follow the link to register using your driver's license. Registration ends on April 16. REGISTER

Who is eligible to vote?

Every registered voter within the USD 489 district boundaries is eligible to vote for the school bond. However, those outside of the city limits are not eligible to vote for the city sales tax.

Check here for Hays city limits and USD 489 district boundaries.

What is bond and capital improvement state aid? Why doesn't Hays receive any?

School districts receive assistance in the form of state aid for bond and capital improvements based on the property values in their district. This is money from state taxes that is redistributed to school districts that pass school bonds. Hays is considered a property wealthy district by Kansas standards. This prevents Hays from receiving any state aid. See Outside District Comparisons

Why is sales tax being included in this bond proposal?

Hays does not receive any state aid for bond and capital improvements. This means that Hays misses out on assistance that is funded outside our community. A sales tax proposal allows the cost of the bond to be shared with others who come into our community and spend money.

Why are there two questions on the ballot?

There are two questions because there are two government entities involved; city and school. There will be a question about approving general obligation bonds for 143.5 million dollars and a question approving a .5% sales tax to assist with paying off the general obligation bond. The school bond can pass with or without the sales tax question passing.

Will there be layoffs with two buildings closing?

Absolutely not! The staff from the two buildings proposed to close will remain employed by the district just working in different buildings.

What happens to the two buildings proposed to close?

This has not been decided yet. The USD 489 Board of Education would have the final say. The two buildings closing would be handled in the same way Washington Elementary School when it closed. Bids and project plans would be heard and at that time determined what the best option is for the community of Hays. None of those plans would be made until all of the shifting of schools and students were completed. The potential earnings from the sale of those buildings would go towards payment of the bond.

Washington was sold to a developer for $500,000.  The developer who created affordable living with the building and then sold the remainder of the ground to a local developer who is going to add more housing.

Will the previously passed HVAC system for Hays High now be included in the bond?

Yes, the recently Board of Education approved HVAC system for HHS will now be lumped into the bond proposal if approved.

Have the traffic changes that will occur with a new high school been addressed?

There will be a traffic study done to ensure the flow of traffic is functional and efficient for the area which will house both the middle school and high school. Additional considerations will be made to stagger start and release times for both schools.

Where will the new high school be built?

The district owns the 41 acres to the east of the current high school. This land would be used for the construction of a new high school and site development equivalent to other 5A schools in the state of Kansas. Click link to see the Plot of Land

Will there be athletic facilities included in the bond?

The new high school will include site development which includes athletic facilities equivalent to other 5A schools in the state. The current football field and track at Hays High will become the middle school's facilities. A new football field and track, soccer field, and softball complex will be built for the the new high school. This would give Hays High the athletic facilities that other 5A schools in Kansas currently have.

Is a swimming pool included in the bond scope?

Unfortunately, there is not a swimming pool included. Our swim team will continue to utilize the great facilities at The Center For Health Improvement.

Is there a guarantee the bond project will not go over the proposed amount?

A construction manager at risk will regulate the budget to ensure all costs stay within the proposed amount. If there is an overage the construction manager at risk will pay the difference. Nabholz Construction Management will be overseeing the project. Link to view Nabholz Construction website.

Does the district currently have other debt?

The district has no debt on bond and interest for capital improvements. The last bond for the district was in 1991 and has been paid off. The district does have lease payments for projects that have been completed over the last 10 years. These projects include classroom additions at Hays Middle School, purchase and renovations of the Early Childhood Complex and computer leases for staff and students. These lease payments are paid through the district's yearly capital outlay fund.

What happened to the COVID funds? Was some of the money set aside for HHS HVAC?

$652,831.00 of ESSER II money has been set aside and will pay for the window replacement at Wilson, O'Loughlin, south side of Westside and North side of 13th street gym.

$2,490,203.00 of ESSER III has been set aside and will pay for 40% of the total cost of the $6,104,968.

If the district is in need or more space, why close buildings?

In order to modernize Lincoln and Rockwell/Westside we would need to:

Replace/Upgrade all electrical

Replace/Upgrade all plumbing

Replace/Upgrade all technology/network

Retrofit to ADA accessibility (would need minimum two separate elevators)

Reconfigure classrooms and learning spaces to meet today’s learning needs

The amount of money needed to complete the above list is more than would be needed to renovate and reorganize the remaining elementary schools.  Consolidating to 3 elementaries will allow more efficiency in day-to-day sharing of teachers between schools.  In addition, the operational cost for utilities alone for those two buildings is close to $100,000 a year. 

How does the county's appraisal affect my taxes?

If your property value goes up, it does not necessarily mean you will pay more taxes. Likewise, if your property value goes down or does not change, it does not automatically mean you will pay less or the same amount of taxes. Changes in property taxes are based in large part on how much your local government decides to spend on services each year. MORE INFORMATION

HaysPost Article related to increased home valuation vs property taxes

Is there research showing a direct connection between school building/environments and student success?

Yes, there is research and the research does conclude that a building renovation, layout, atmosphere, etc. does have a direct impact on student learning and academic success. DLR has completed research with many higher educational entities and below are links to the results.

DLR Group Research: Click here

Scientific Journal Abstract: Click here For complete article click on "PDF" box within the abstract.