Denair Unified to discuss superintendent search, financial troubles

naustin@modbee.comNovember 12, 2013 

— The Denair Unified School District board will meet at 5:30 p.m. Thursday to appoint a superintendent search advisory committee. After a closed-door session, the board will reconvene at 7 p.m. to hold its regular meeting, which will include a financial update and a second certification that without making cuts in spending, the district will run out of money before year’s end.

The district’s dire financial straits and the specter of a state takeover will make attracting top-notch candidates more difficult, Interim Superintendent Walt Hanline has said.

The committee as proposed would be led by administrator Fawn Oliver and include:

• Two representatives each from teacher and support staff unions

• A representative from each of its schools and charter schools

• Administrators from the business office, superintendent’s office, upper and lower grade school administrators

• An appointee of the four existing board members and the two trustees-elect, Sandi Dirkse and Kathi Dunham-Filson

The search timeline provided has superintendent applications closing Dec. 6, possibly before Denair Unified settles stalled negotiations with its teachers. Board interviews would be Jan. 3-4, with the selection announced Jan. 9.

Without a new deal in place, the district’s contract with the Denair Unified Teachers Association has reverted to salaries paid at the peak of the boom years. District layoffs of teachers for this year missed a statutory deadline, and a second try faces a legal challenge.

Inking a fresh pact with salary concessions is seen as key to getting the district back in the black, but negotiations are at impasse, and a fact-finding team is working to produce a recommendation. The board will receive an update during its closed-door session.

In its regular meeting, the board will get a financial update from fiscal adviser Terri Ryland and be asked to certify that its budget remains unworkable. The district faces a state takeover by June 30 if it cannot reduce expenses sufficiently.

In other business, the district will update board policies and accept a $12,992 grant for its ag career classes.

The Denair Unified School District board will meet at 5:30 p.m. Thursday for a special meeting on creating a superintendent search committee, and at 7 p.m. for its regular meeting in the Denair Middle School Coyote Center, 3601 Lester Road. Find exhibits and the agenda at

Bee education reporter Nan Austin can be reached at or (209) 578-2339. Follow her on Twitter @NanAustin.

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