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Denair school board continues to disappoint
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Denair (Unified School) Board of Trustees continues to disappoint everyone who relies on them to make sound, logical decisions that are in the best interest of students!  First, they failed to provide the necessary checks and balances of power within the district by blindly following the superintendent right over the fiscal cliff.  Then they compounded their errors by hiring an expensive and controversial interim when there were other qualified candidates that would have cost less. Remaining true to form, they are blindly following another superintendent down a path of continued fiscal mismanagement. 

The board continues to approve spending exorbitant amounts of money on highly paid consultants that seem to go wherever Dr. Hanline goes.  This is a clear conflict of interest to continually hire the same consulting firms.  Their advice is no longer “expert and impartial”, since they keep each other in business.  It would not be prudent to disagree with Dr. Hanline if one wishes to be hired again when he moves on to the next district. Since it is not illegal to hire the consultants of your choice, it is up to the board to figure out how the relationships between these firms are self-serving and do not represent the best interests of the district.  The board has failed to recognize these connections.

The board has also failed to curtail the superintendent from employing harmful tactics to both students and the district. In an effort to pressure teachers to accept larger cuts than are necessary to meet the mandated reserves, Dr. Hanline called in the media causing Denair to receive massive amounts of negative press.  Negative press does not help us attract students.  Attracting students would actually help our fiscal condition and the district’s actions were in direct conflict to that goal, causing greater harm to our schools. Dr. Hanline, with board approval, has made decisions to gain negotiating leverage, not to consider what is best for students.  Reassigning a first grade teacher to middle school and a middle school teacher to first grade is not logical or in the best interest of students.  His decisions are centered around making life uncomfortable for anyone who does not share his viewpoint, and our board has allowed this to happen, even though it is not what is best for our students.

Dr. Hanline’s quote on the news stating that the money had to come from “teachers’ salaries or a child’s education” is quite untrue and inaccurate. Some of the money could come from his salary and the salaries of all the consultants that are being well compensated to solve our problems when in reality, they are exacerbating and prolonging the problem at great expense to the district.  At a couple of board meetings, Dr. Hanline has made off-the-cuff remarks about “donations” and not receiving any, so some harsh decisions are required.  I propose that the board members donate 11 percent of their income to the district.  Let me be clear, I mean 11 percent of their entire income, not 11 percent of their board stipend.  It seems reasonable and fair since that is what they are asking from us, the non-voting personnel who have no decision making authority.  They should experience some consequence as a result of their decisions.

Despite the trials and tribulations of the past year, I am proud to be a staff member of the Denair Unified School District.  The teachers are helping to hold this district together, despite the efforts of the outsiders who are trying desperately to divide and conquer us.  The teachers are here every day, still smiling, delivering instruction, and working hard for the students.  We are collaborating and supporting one another to come up with creative ways to fill gaps, support students, and continue to have our schools be a positive place for our pupils!

— Janelle Gray