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Denair cuts teaching positions
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The past year has been a tumultuous one for the Denair Unified School District, and although it has narrowly avoided a state takeover, the difficult decisions are not over as the District has officially voted to cut several positions.

Cutting the equivalent of eight full time positions will ultimately save the District about $500,000. While the number of actual teachers who will be affected has not yet been determined, it is guaranteed that services will be reduced or eliminated no later than the 2014-2015 school year. The reduction was submitted by Superintendent Aaron Rosander and past interim superintendent Dr. Walt Hanline to the board and passed at the board meeting on Thursday.

“It’s not so much that the teacher is going to go away, but it is going to be less of that teacher's time that will be paid for,” said Hanline. “It was understood that this had to happen to get the savings for the District.”

Teachers will be notified by March 15 by the Board, which is legally bound to give written notice by then. However, the reduction will also impact the students of Denair Unified.

“It is supposed to even out the number of students in the class sizes so that there is a more even average across the board,” said Barry Cole, president of the Denair Unified Teachers’ Association. “It’s going to affect a lot of students. They won’t have the choices they have had in the past, which is unfortunate.”

Class ratios will change making the district “a little less than competitive” with kindergarten through third grade a 24:1 ratio, a 30:1 ratio in fourth and fifth grades, and a 32:1 in sixth through 12th grades, according to Hanline.

With the $500,000 savings and the recent concessions of an 8 percent pay cut on behalf of the teachers’ association, the District is the closest it has been to being fiscally sound in years. In March the Stanislaus County Office of Education is slated to approve the district’s budget and the District will then be able to begin paying off its loans.