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Denair Unified prepares for new superintendent, continues fiscal battle

POSTED November 21, 2013 6:30 p.m.

The Denair Unified School District continues to cope with their fiscal crisis as they wait for fact-finding developments to play out and continue their search for a new superintendent.

The Stanislaus County of Education is facilitating the superintendent search as Interim Superintendent Walt Hanline works with County Superintendent Tom Changnon. A public forum was held in June by the board to afford the public an opportunity to vocalize their thoughts for the skills and traits they would like the new superintendent to have. Some board members are still in the process of appointing their representatives for the community committee but Hanline remarked at the Nov. 14 school board meeting that the board is moving in a good direction.

“I think we’re all very pleased with the representatives and the stakeholders involved. Board elections are over with and I’m looking forward to moving forward with what I call the new Denair,” said Hanline.

Dec 19 is the next threshold the board has to cross as it works to develop the constructs of the new superintendent’s contract as well as interview questions. This will set the whole process in motion for Jan. 3, 2014, when formal interviews will commence.

Hanline said in his staff report that he has high hopes for a united front as the district prepares for the integration of a new superintendent. While he acknowledges that people will not always see eye to eye, he feels that the new superintendent will not be greeted with a fragmented board but a stable one.

Hanline has received five candidates already and expects that despite a small pool of options, the candidates will be dynamic. The arrival date for the new superintendent is slated for Feb. 1, 2014.

As for the fiscal state of the district, the stance remains dismal. Hanline remains firm in his belief that the fiscal crisis needs to be tackled head on, saying that there is no reason with the new superintendent that the district can’t move out of its fiscal state in a hurry. As for the moment, the fact finding process is still underway.

 “I really don’t have a lot to add at this point. As fiscal advisor we are waiting for the fact finding process to proceed and see what the outcome of that is,” said fiscal advisor, Terry Ryland who added they will be meeting with the fact finding panel in the beginning of December.

A report will be completed no later than Dec . 22 or 23. Both the association and the District will have the report and will be required to meet one more time to negotiate. The report can be implemented by the Board and the teachers union is allowed to strike and if they so choose.

The Board was also presented with a 2013-2014 interim budget report on Thursday by Interim Chief Business Official Douglas Crancer, which showed that every month except December the District will have a negative cash balance resulting in their need to borrow funds from SCOE. The District’s Average Daily Attendance has declined by approximately 67 students from last year and is expected to decline by 7 percent in upcoming years resulting in a loss of $400,000 of revenues per year. The Local Control Funding Formula is estimated to fund the gap between target funding and actual funding, which would increase revenues by about $200,000 each year. Crancer estimates a reduction of eight teaching positions for the 2014-15 school year and three for the 2015-16 year.

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