Denair hires retired Ceres leader as interim schools superintendent

naustin@modbee.comApril 12, 2013 

"Class size had to go down for kids' sake," says Walt Hanline, superintendent of the Natomas Unified School District.

LEZLIE STERLING — lsterling@sacbee.com

— Denair Unified School District trustees have appointed retired Ceres Superintendent Walt Hanline to lead the district until a permanent replacement for Ed Parraz is hired.

The vote was 6-1 Thursday night, with board President Robert Hodges dissenting, to hire Hanline. His salary was not immediately available.

Denair's financial troubles pushed it to the brink of state receivership, the same predicament Hanline successfully navigated as interim leader at Natomas Unified in the Sacramento area in 2011-12, according to a statement prepared by Denair officials.

"The board actively recruited an experienced leader and change agent" to help it to a sound fiscal future, the statement says. Hanline retired from Ceres in 2010.

Parraz has resigned from the district with a settlement that will give him five additional months of salary, or $45,000, plus about $9,000 in vacation pay, and health coverage through the end of his contract, June 30, 2014, of up to $10,000 a year.

At that point, the contract states, he could retire and the district would continue to pay for health benefits until he turns 65.

Board members said Parraz had tenure and therefore rights to return to a full-time teaching position. By quitting, it saves the district from having to instate him in a teaching post after teachers he arranged to lay off as superintendent were cut. It is past March 15 and too late to lay off more teachers.

"Having Mr. Parraz agree to resign from district employment completely, and not just from the position of superintendent, saves the district a significant sum of money, even taking into account the terms of this agreement," the district statement says.

Denair needs to cut ongoing expenses by $1.3 million by the end of the next year to remain solvent. In earlier meetings, it laid off teachers and support staff, a maintenance supervisor midyear, trimmed management salaries by 3.5 percent and started the process to change its arts-enriched elementary charter school into a regular district school.

It mandated a 3.5 percent pay cut for nonunion staff but has not reached a settlement with its bargaining units on teacher and support staff pay.

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

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