The Bee's Nov. 9 editorial ("Schools still need to budget wisely") mentioning the plight of the Denair Unified School District is partially correct. The hiring of new teachers, administrators and classified managers, while all other districts were cutting back or holding fast, was a costly mistake.
However, the district's excuse that all would have been well if the teachers had only taken a bigger cut in pay is disingenuous. Simple arithmetic doesn't support that claim. Denair teachers are among the lowest paid in the county. Their average pay, an important budget figure, is first or second lowest among all the unified districts in the county.
Where did the district's comfortable reserve go? The startup and continuing costs of four poorly researched programs, sold as a means to attract students from other districts, or even statewide, failed to increase enrollment. The cost of these programs depleted the district's reserve by at least $1 million dollars and tangentially produced an ongoing encumbrance not sustainable by the district.