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Welcome to USD #494

Welcome to USD #494 Syracuse.  We are a county-wide (Hamilton) rural school district in west central Kansas bordering Colorado to the west.  Our bus district encompasses 992 square miles, making us the largest geographical school district in Kansas.  All of Hamilton County operates on Mountain Standard Time.  The District consists of a pre-K through 6th grade elementary school and a 7th grade through 12th grade middle school/high school with a total student enrollment of about 540.  We employ approximately 40 certified staff and 30 classified staff.  Our total budget is approximately $11.5 million annually.

Syracuse has many assets that have kept our student population relatively consistent when others with similar demographics have struggled with declining enrollments.  Syracuse is the Hamilton County Seat with a KDOT office and a modern airport located in town.  We have numerous farming and ranching operations in the county, and several large dairy farms that provide employment opportunities.  We have a modern hospital facility, retirement village, locally owned theater, several restaurants, and numerous local businesses.  Our municipal golf course may be the nicest 9-hole course in any small rural community in the mid-west, and the SHS golf teams, both boys and girls, have several state golf championships to show for it.  Outdoor recreational opportunities are abundant as well.  Four-wheeling along the banks of the Arkansas, fishing, hunting, hiking, cycling, and swimming are among the options for outdoor enthusiasts.

Our academics have been time tested and proven and our graduates have excelled in college and careers across Kansas and the nation.  We maintain high academic standards with rigor and relevance at every level.  We are currently transitioning to Common Core State Standards at all grade levels, known in Kansas as College and Career Ready Standards, and are completing some major technology upgrades that will help our students acclimate to the resulting increased demands.  Our organizational team approach combined with a focus on student success has allowed us to continue serving our community in spite of funding challenges that continue to plague Kansas public education.  Excellence in education requires our very best efforts as educators regardless of the challenges.  At USD #494 we will do whatever it takes to achieve excellence, always moving forward in lock-step with a rapidly changing world.

Please stop by the school if you have a chance, and let us know how we are doing.  We welcome feedback, comments, and suggestions.  We are very proud of our school, our students, and our community.  Go Bulldogs!

Paul Larkin