DENAIR -- Deputy Superintendent Judy Sylvester, head of Denair Unified's business office, is taking over day-to-day administration of the school district following Thursday night's abrupt dismissal of Superintendent Ed Parraz, district office personnel said Friday.
Parraz, 59, was placed on paid leave during a closed-door meeting of the Denair board Thursday night. Trustees are mum on the personnel matter aside from a brief statement that the vote was unanimous and made with "deep regret." The financial terms of Parraz's departure have yet to be negotiated, board President John Plett said. Parraz's contract runs through June 30, 2014. The superintendent made $120,000 plus a $4,200 car allowance per year, but volunteered for a 10 percent percent salary reduction in December.
Denair Unified serves 30 percent fewer children in its regular schools than it did five years ago, losing some to Turlock public high schools and others to its own charter schools. Yet under Parraz's leadership, the district has avoided layoffs and has far more teachers, administrators and support staff per student than most other districts. Its high school, with 340 students, has an average class size of 16, compared with an average of 39 to 40 in Modesto's seven public high schools. Parraz protected jobs by shrinking staff only through attrition.