Submitted by Denair Unified School District
After three years of decline, enrollment in the Denair Unified School District is leveling off thanks to strong growth at the elementary campus. More students boost the bottom line since average daily attendance, or ADA, is the key measurement linked to state funding.
Superintendent Aaron Rosander and Chief Business Officer Linda Covello went over the important financial and enrollment numbers at Thursday night’s DUSD board of trustees meeting.
Covello said the district finished the 2014-15 school year with 1,265 students, a 9% decline from the previous year. Still, thanks to tight fiscal controls and cooperation from labor groups, the district finished the school year with an overall fund balance of $852,403.
And, Rosander explained, this year has started off very well, particularly at the new Denair Elementary Charter Academy. Already, enrollment has exceeded projections by 40 students. The first-ever Spanish immersion program in kindergarten has proven to be especially popular. Thirty-two youngsters signed up, creating the need for a second class. An additional teacher has been hired and the district intends to advertise that it has room for another dozen or so students in the program.
“It’s been a fabulous start to the year,” Principal Sara Michelena said. “Our enrollment is up across all the grade levels.”
Covello’s budget projections show that thanks to enrollment growth and some one-time funding from the state, Denair should end this school year with a fund balance of more than $1.5 million.
Rosander couldn’t help but smile Thursday night when he considered the progress the district has made in a few short years.
“The picture looks very, very good. It appears the plan we put in place about a year and half ago is gaining traction and coming to fruition,” he said. “It’s really a nice trajectory that we’re on.”
In other action, trustees:
- Approved a contract for $111,000 with The Hello Foundation of Portland, Oregon, to provide speech and language services to about 50 students. The innovative program combines traditional one-on-one learning with cutting-edge technology. Certified language pathologists are onsite one week a month to work with students, create lesson plans and meet with parents. In between, they use Skype-like video technology, email and phone consultation to keep students on track. Denair provides an aide to work with students and participate in the video calls.
- Approved two minor changes to the school calendar. The first aligns all minimum days between Denair High School and Denair Middle School. The second moves the parent teacher conferences at DECA to late October, right after report cards are issued. They originally were scheduled for the third week of November. The teachers union agreed to both changes.