Community Snapshot: Bourbon County Economy

The tagline for the 2020 Census is “Shape your future. START HERE.” Courtesy photo.

The 2020 Census is coming on April 1, 2020, and with it comes the opportunity to provide for community needs.


The data used is helpful because it impacts everything from school lunches to libraries to wastewater systems, Kansas Secretary of Commerce David Toland said in an April, 2019 press release.


It is vital to Kansas businesses and communities to have a full and accurate count of people living in the state, Secretary Toland said.


“Census results help determine how billions of dollars in federal funding flow into states and communities each year.

The results determine how many seats in Congress each state gets.

It’s mandated by the U.S. Constitution in Article 1, Section 2: The U.S. has counted its population every 10 years since 1790.” according to the census website.


The census gives a snapshot of communities.


For example, the per capita income in Bourbon County was $22,822 in 2018, according to


Per capita income is determined by dividing an area’s income by its population and counts each man, woman, and child, even newborn babies, as a member of the population.  Household income counts all people residing under one roof as a household, according to


In Bourbon County, the median household income is $40,733 in 2018, according to the census website.


People living in poverty account for 16 percent of Bourbon County’s population.


Snapshot of Bourbon County

To get a snapshot of the local economic scene, FortScott.Biz asked local business, school and government entities some questions on what their employees earn and what services they provide the community.


The information given is intended to  look at the wages in the  public and private sectors. It also includes services the entities provide.


The Bourbon County Courthouse.


Bourbon County

The county has a land area of 635 square miles, and in 2019 had 14, 653 people living here, according to the government census website.


The Bourbon County government has 112 employees.


Jody Hoenor is the economic development director for Bourbon County and is the highest-paid employee earning $70,000 a year.


The lowest hourly wage, $8.58 in the county, is for election board workers, according to files provided by Bourbon County Clerk Kendall Mason.


The county provides county law enforcement, emergency medical services (ambulance) in collaboration with the city of Fort Scott, road and bridge repair and maintenance, emergency preparedness, landfill, land deeds,  health department services, economic development services, appraisal services, Elm Creek Lake services.


For more information about the county, click below;




USD 234 Board of Education Building, 424 S. Main


USD 234

USD 234 is the Fort Scott School District that provides education for pre-school through high school students.


It is also one of the biggest employers in the city.


“Currently we have 373 that we consider being full-time employees receiving benefits for our purposes,” Gina Shelton, USD234 Business Manager, said. “Full-time with the school is 630 hours a year or more which is the Kansas Public Employee Retirement System threshold. On a typical month, we run a payroll of 440 employees, which would include subs, recreation hourly, and other part-time help. The recreation department is a part of our budget and their employees are part of our payroll,” Gina Shelton, business manager of USD 234 said.


To view the USD234 Salary Schedule, which is on the website of the district:


To view the classified employees pay schedule:


Ted Hessong, superintendent of the Fort Scott school district, is the highest-paid employee and earns $118,000 a year, according to the info provided by the district.


The lowest hourly wage in the district is for summer part-time not- on-contract and bus monitor employees, who earn $7.25 per hour, according to the info provided by the district.


Uniontown High School

USD 235

The Uniontown School District serves the area outside the Fort Scott district and the campus is located in western Bourbon County.

USD 235 provides education to pre-school through high school-age children and also has a fitness center for students and patrons in the district’s use.

“We have 123 employees on the payroll, with 79 full time,” Sherri Hartman, clerk for the district, said.

“The entry-level pay varies by position, but the lowest entry-level pay is 80% of $12.27 hourly. The highest entry-level pay is 80% of $19.65 hourly. Teacher placement is according to the salary schedule.”
“The highest earner is the superintendent, Brett Howard, at $95,350,” she said.
For information on the school district, click below:



Fort Scott Community College

Fort Scott Community College


Fort Scott Community College is a two-year college.


For January the FSCC payroll  had 173 faculty and staff, 56 adjunct instructors,  and 33 work-study students, Juley McDaniel, human resource director at the college, said.


The lowest entry-level wage for employees at FSCC is $9.50/hr. for full time regular staff employees working at an hourly wage.  FSCC has federal work-study students and tutors that are hired at a flat rate of $8.00/hr. and are part time student-filled positions.


“Median faculty salary is $41,967,” McDaniel said. “This does not count adjunct wages as they are paid per credit hour taught. Median staff wage is $37,450 when counting part time assistant coaches. This does not count student workers, but does take into account the migrant grant positions in other states where we serve as the fiscal agent. Median staff wage is $40,050 when not counting part time  assistant coaches. This does not count student workers, but does take into account the migrant grant positions in other states where we serve as the fiscal agent.”


To be considered full time for faculty is a bit different at the college level.


“Per the negotiated agreement between faculty and administration, full time entails 32-40 hours a week,” McDaniel said. “Our faculty fall into one of four categories – 169 day, 189 day, 209 day, and 12 month.”


Some of the services the college provides to the community:

The community service of student clubs and athletic teams, reading with elementary students, cleaning, supporting USD 234 activities like Family Fun Night, reading, first day of school welcome, fundraiser product disbursement , etc.   Over 6000 hours were clocked from athletics alone in 2018.  This doesn’t count student clubs like President’s Ambassadors, Phi Theta Kappa, Student Nurse Organization, McDaniel said.

Other services FSCC provides:

  • Bourbon county tuition waiver up to 15 credit hours per semester,
  • Bourbon County High School Waiver for any Bourbon County high school student taking a concurrent class for one KBOR-approved class,
  • Ellis  Fine Arts Center– school programs, community meetings, etc. (multiple use by school district including testing, theater),
  • Gordon Parks Museum – free to visitors and hosts school field trips to schools,
  • Student Success Center – computer, internet, and printer access (up to 10 pages free) for students and general public,
  • Library access,
  • Host annually Math Relays, Music Contest, National History Day, Aggie Day,
  • Cosmetology services through Cosmetology Program,
  • Continuing ed. classes for the public, specialized training for businesses as needed,
  • Walking trail and old Lincoln Schoolhouse are maintained by FSCC maintenance,
  •   Free Kid’s Fairs twice a year
  •    Home Show help
  •   Kid’s College once a year
  •  Parade participation
  • Cosmotology provides free haircuts for students
  •  Cosmotology provides free hairstyling  and manicures at nursing homes (Pittsburg)
  •   Zumba classes last year
  • Donations to community events, prom/after proms, and other events
  •  Band volunteers at the Veteran’s Day celebration


Fort Scott City Hall.


City of Fort Scott

Deb Needleman, Human Resource Director for the city gave the following information:


The highest-paid employee earns $107, 463- City Manager Dave Martin.


Earnings of part-time entry-level positions are for summer seasonal help-life guards and golf cart attendees, Needleman said.


The lowest full-time entry-level employee in the city is $21, 555 per year.


The city has 100 full-time employees.


The city provides police and fire services, emergency medical services(in collaboration with the county government), public water services, public works (including streets), parks, lakes, the LaRoche Ball Park, an aquatic center,  a golf course, an airport, community development, economic development, and a tourism office, according to information provided by Needleman.


To learn more about the city of Fort Scott, click below:


The Fort Scott Public Library although not a department of the city, does receive MILL Levy funds which pass through the City of Fort Scott,  but the City is a pass-through only for those funds, Needleman said.


Buck Run Community Center (BRCC) is owned by the city and the city provides funds to maintain and operate it, the decisions about activities that are offered operates through the recreation board, Needleman said.




For a private sector view, Ward-Kraft, Inc. gave the following information.

Ward-Kraft, Inc.

Ward-Kraft, Inc. is one of the largest employers in the county and has six companies under its umbrella. It is not a public entity like the others featured.


Ward-Kraft Holding Company, Inc  includes Ward-Kraft, Fort Scott Munitions, KW Cattle, Reprologix, 4-States Sanitation, and Christian Learning Center and has 326 employees, according to Gina Staudinger, Chief Business Officer with Ward-Kraft.


Average work hours involve three shifts for production 7 am – 3 pm, 3 pm – 11 pm, 11 pm – 7 am.     Office hours vary between 7 am – 5 pm.     All full-time members are expected to work at least 40 hours per week, and overtime as needed, Staudinger noted.


The median wage for employees is $15.50.


Entry-level wages are    $10.00 – $11.81 per hour base but vary with previous job experience and position filled.    For office personnel  is it $10.26 – $15.60; off-line production – $10.00 – $16.30; press operators, collator operators, machinists, machine maintenance – $11.60 – $22.20.


Non-government entities are not required by law to supply information and Ward-Kraft said they do not share who the top earner is in the business.


To learn more about Ward-Kraft, click below:

Citizens are asked to complete the U.S. Census Bureau survey when received on April 1, 2020.


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