Denair Unified School District’s Interim Superintendent Walt Hanline tendered his resignation on Wednesday evening, the day before the swearing in of newly elected board members – but the board voted 4-1 to keep him.
At Thursday's board meeting, Hanline attributed his decision to several factors including his desire to not impede the new board’s direction. Recently elected board member Sandi Dirkse was the only vote in favor of letting Hanline go, a decision precipitated by an email she sent him with questions that he did not feel comfortable answering.
“I really felt, the reason why I submitted my resignation, is that I believe that I do not want to be an obstacle to this district resolving this crisis,” said Hanline, who reiterated the taxing nature of his position through the chronic disagreements that have plagued the board and Denair Unified Teachers Association for months. “I’ve submitted my resignation giving you the opportunity to convince your fellow board members to have me leave at no expense. But the bottom line is that I believe that I have done everything I can – and we disagree on this – to support you. And I guarantee you I’m going to do everything I can to support you and this board as long as the four people will have my backside.”
Carolyn Brown, John Plett, Kathi Dunham-Filson and Robert Hodges all voted in favor of keeping Hanline on the board and Dirkse emphasized the neither she nor the board sought Hanline’s resignation. Dirkse defended her dissenting opinion citing Hanline’s desire to leave as reason enough to let him go.
“I believe if you don’t want the job, if you’re not committed to continuing the job, we should release and allow you to go. I did not call for his resignation and so I believe that we should have honored that and let him go,” said Dirkse.
As has been the trend in DUSD in recent months, opinions ranged on both ends of the spectrum most evident by the public comment period which preceded the board’s disclosure of Hanline’s offer of resignation.
“Denair Unified Teachers Association has zero confidence in Walt Hanline’s leadership,” said DUTA President Barry Cole.
Others supported the board's decision to keep Hanline on.
“We will continue to support the vision of the board of trustees to guide the school district into the future for what matters most: our students,” said Michelle Bush, principal of Denair Charter Academy.
The DUSD and the teachers' union need to find a solution soon to their ongoing dispute, as the Fiscal Crisis Management and Assistance Team declared the district in a state of financial emergency at its quarterly board meeting in October.
Also on Thursday, Hodges was chosen to serve another term as Board President, Brown was reelected as Clerk and Dirkse will serve as County Committee Member on School District Organization. Dirkse and Dunham-Filson were also sworn in as board members.