DENAIR — The Denair Unified School District board fired Superintendent Ed Parraz on Thursday night, saying the vote was unanimous though it took the action "with deep regret."
Board President John Plett said Parraz was put on paid administrative leave, effective immediately, until the board and Parraz could work out settling his contract, which runs through June 30, 2014.
"I knew this would be the year of tough decisions, and this was one of them," Parraz told The Bee via email Thursday night. "I have enjoyed serving as superintendent of Denair USD, as it has been the high point of my career in education. The board has been exceptional and supportive in their role as the governance team for the school district and I wish them well. I also would like to thank the community of Denair for their unwavering support for their schools and Denair's future the children. I will always remember my 12½ 'purple' years with Denair Unified School District."
Denair High School parent Monica Kindle Crabtree said she agreed with the board's decision on Parraz, but "never thought they'd do it." "It caught me off guard, but I think they made the right decision. We're moving in the right direction."
In other action, the board did not consider a tentative pact with district support staff. The deal called for custodians, secretaries and others to take a 3.5 percent salary cut from January through June, but county overseers refused to accept the pact, said Kyle Harvey, lead negotiator for the California School Employees Association Denair chapter.
The deal would have required the district to undo layoffs for the rest of the year and pay back the lost salary if teachers did not agree to a similar sacrifice.
Denair Unified Teachers Association President Barry Cole said teachers offered to take a 3.5 percent cut, but only as a loan that would have to be paid back in four years. "That way, you don't have an incentive to keep doing what you're doing," Cole said. Teachers say there are too many administrators and that the district should change its accounting procedures to end district subsidies.
The board also:
Unanimously approved seeking a retroactive waiver to operate its middle school and high school community day programs as one. Cole said the reason was safety, that one teacher served both "schools," really two classrooms he walked between. The change will cost Denair $100,000 that the district received to operate the school separately.
Accepted a community letter with about 50 signatures praising the board decision last month to not extend its own terms by going to even-year elections. The switch to by-area trustee elections, however, deserves further study, said Jeff Dirkse, speaking on behalf of the community members.
Received a financial update saying the district will dip into savings by more than $298,000 to finish the year. The district will end the year with $150,045, which, subtracting economic uncertainty, leaves the district in the red, said Chief Business Official Judy Sylvestre.