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Denair trustees take steps to win back public trust
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The Denair Unified School District’s meeting on Thursday marked a distinct change in public opinion on how the board is dealing with its financial crisis.

 “Tonight’s agenda is a reflection of what we’ve been concerned about all along. I do believe that our concerns been taken to heart and that our voices are finally being heard,” said Denair parent Sandi Dirske.

Trustees unanimously voted to set forth a new and revised strategic plan, restructured salary schedules, and voted to cut salaries up to 11 percent for nonunion staff.  Trustees also set a goal for higher reserves for the district.

“In California, there are districts that have a reserve level up to 15 percent,” said DUSD Superintendent Walt Hanline. “I strongly believe that if a district has a reserve level of more than 9 percent, they are taking away from the children’s education to simply put money into a bank account. We’re not going to do that. I want our district to be at a 3 percent reserve.”

The board also voted to hire Mary Jones as interim deputy superintendent following a presentation she gave on the Common Core Standards.

“The new Common Core will give students the opportunity to compete with others across the globe,” said Jones. “It will change the way teachers instruct. Students will read, write and speak better. There will also be a shift in the way math is taught in the classroom. Analytical writing will be used in conjunction with math.”

The district can also expect to see a change in STAR testing with the implementation on the Common Core Standards.

“Employers are seeking people who can effectively communicate, analyze research information, and write effectively,” said Jones.

Jones will be providing professional development for teachers and administration, giving classroom visitation, and helping the district transition its Common Core Standards.