Denair Unified looking to reduce teachers at charter school, hire chief business officer

naustin@modbee.comMarch 10, 2014 

— The Denair Charter Academy, serving mostly at-risk high school students, would lose 12 hourly teachers next year under a proposal to be voted on tonight at a special meeting. The Denair Unified School District board also will convene Thursday night for its regular meeting, expecting to hire a permanent chief business officer.

The academy is one of two charters operated by Denair Unified. The other, Denair Academic Avenues, or D2A, would not be affected by this action. The agenda item notes that Denair Charter Academy may need to reduce staff to break even next year. The school served 337 students in 2012-13, all but 58 of them in high school.

Thursday, the board meeting will begin with recognition of Don Helnore, who was named California Interscholastic Federation Southern League Wrestling Coach of the Year. The board also is set to vote on hiring Corey Schortzmann as head JV baseball coach and Jacob Wagner as head JV track coach.

Fiscal adviser Terri Ryland will give a district financial update, after which the board will be asked to approve a budget report that says the district will not be in the black this year, but there is light at the end of the tunnel.

The permanent chief business officer will be paid $95,000 annually, the agenda item says. In 2015-16, when the district expects no longer to need to pay a financial adviser, the salary rate will rise to $102,743. Douglas Crancer has served as interim CBO this school year.

Denair Unified’s financial troubles were discovered in fall of 2012, when overly optimistic enrollment projections failed to materialize and it became clear the district did not have enough income or reserves to finish the school year. A loan from the Stanislaus County Office of Education kept the district’s checks from bouncing through the summer, and held off a state takeover. With layoff notices and salary cuts done, district finances are back in check.

A letter from new Superintendent Aaron Rosander to the community says that within 18 months, the district expects to be back on its feet. He asked the community to participate in a series of surveys to be available soon. See the letter at www.dusd.k12.ca.us.

The Denair Unified School District board will hold a special meeting at 7 p.m. today in the district boardroom, 3460 Lester Road, Denair. It will hold a regular meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday in the boardroom. Find exhibits and the agenda at http://bit.ly/DenairUnified. Bee education reporter Nan Austin can be reached at naustin@modbee.com or (209) 578-2339. Follow her on Twitter @NanAustin.

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