USD 489 addresses possible rebranding


USD 489 board of education met for its regular meeting on Monday.

During public comment, Ruth Legleiter brought up concerns about the possible rebranding of the Hays High Indians. She said she recently read an article from a Wichita news station saying that with the construction of a new high school, the district was looking to rebrand.

The article said surveys would be sent home with students to gather ideas for potential name changes. 

“To me that sounded like a fact and a goal so that kind of got my attention,” Legleiter said.

Legleiter said she talked to the Hays High principal and was referred to the superintendent and then to the district’s public relations specialist. Legleiter was unsatisfied with the answers she received.

“We need a community meeting kind of like the ones that were held to inform the people, the community, about having a school bond,” Legleiter said.

One of Legleiter’s main concerns about the rebranding is the cost. 

“Nobody’s got an extra dime today,” she said.

Legleiter felt there were many unanswered questions including the deadline for the name change, who decides the name change, how many people make up the branding committee and finally, why surveys were only being sent to parents.

“I know a lady who’s lived here two months and she got a survey,” Legleiter said. “I’ve lived here all my life; I’m an alumni. I had to ask for one.”

Legleiter emphasized if the district wants community support in this initiative, they need to be transparent.

“Right now, how I feel about it is totally emotional because I have no facts on anything else,” Legleiter said.

Board president Craig Pallister thanked Legleiter for voicing her concerns and said the district would be putting out more information soon. 

“I don’t want to put down any news media that is hours away from us, but there was some probably incorrect information,” Pallister said. “You gotta watch where you get your information.”

Some other items discussed at the meeting included:

  • November 14th will be the local contractor summit for contractors interested in working on the bond project
  • The board unanimously approved putting Narcan, a spray used to reverse effects of opioid overdoses, in all district schools
  • The board unanimously approved a list of surplus items to be auctioned off
  • Discussed the criteria of the Kansans Can Star Recognitions Program that evaluates school districts and showed where the district landed in each category

The next board meeting will be on November 14. At that meeting, Nabholz Construction and DLR will discuss the schematic designs for the new high school and Roosevelt elementary school. 

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