Denair Unified School District to consider pay cut, one layoff

naustin@modbee.comDecember 10, 2012 

EC Denair02

ED CRISOSTOMO/ecrisostomo@modbee.com A view of Denair Elementary school's sign on Wednesday afternoon (12-05-12) in Modesto CA.

ED CRISOSTOMO — Modesto Bee

— The Denair Unified School District board will vote on cutting management salaries and one layoff at its meeting Thursday.

The layoff of a supervisor of maintenance and operations would take effect Jan. 31 and save the district about $20,000 for the rest of 2012-13, according to agenda documents.

Sixteen management employees would be docked 3.5 percent in pay under another proposal, saving $22,300.

But $42,300 is only a start for the district, which must trim $350,000 to make it to the end of this school year, Superintendent Ed Parraz said in a letter sent home to Denair parents.

The board meeting will be the public's first chance to weigh in on the district's finances since an outside expert's report laid out just how severe its deficits had become.

A large expected turnout caused the district to move the meeting from its usual board room to the middle school facility.

Right after the public comment portion of the meeting, the board will hear from Natomas Unified School District trustee Teri Burns, who is a California School Boards Association expert on policy and programs.

Denair board members also are expected to accept the initial bargaining proposal of their teachers, a procedural step before formal negotiations may begin.

The Denair Unified Teachers Association is asking the district to agree to provide basic educational materials. DUTA President Barry Cole said teachers have had to pay for or fund-raise to buy needed supplies.

DUTA also is asking "to discuss reassignments that will result from possible layoffs," a provision that would apply for next year's staffing. Teachers could not be laid off at this point for the 2012-13 school year.

Board members also will vote on converting their independent study charter school to an alternative school and program of choice for the following school year, 2013-14.

Trustees will be asked to certify that an updated 2012-13 budget will be unable to meet district expenses for this or either of two subsequent years, with a $377,000 deficit expected in its general fund.

It was this looming insolvency that brought public disclosure by Stanislaus County Office of Education overseers of the district's precarious finances. An outside expert was hired to study the district's books and created a report released in late November.

The Denair Unified board will meet at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the Denair Middle School Coyote Center, 3701 Lester Road.

Bee education reporter Nan Austin can be reached at naustin@modbee.com or (209) 578-2339, and on Twitter, @NanAustin.

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