DUSD promotes Swearingen to lead business department

A familiar face who has excelled in her current role soon will be taking on important new duties for the Denair Unified School District.

Daisy Swearingen — who has served as the executive assistant to the superintendent, chief business  official and Board of Trustees the past six years – has been promoted to director of fiscal services, Superintendent Terry Metzger announced Thursday. The move becomes official Feb. 1.

“When I joined the district in 2018, I very quickly saw that Daisy was a valuable asset,” Metzger said. “She is that rare combination of someone who is detail-oriented, yet can keep her eye on the big picture. I am thrilled to have her shift into this new position and am confident that she will do a fantastic job.”

Swearingen has a degree in human resources management and previously worked in operations, finance and management positions for a large supermarket company as well as the City of Manteca before coming to Denair in 2016. In her new role, she will replace Linda Covello, the district’s chief business official. Covello announced last month she will be leaving the district at the end of June to move out of state. The two women will work side by side over the next five months to get Swearingen up to speed on her new responsibilities, an opportunity Swearingen believes will be invaluable.

“I’ll really get to dig into the more technical pieces of the job,” Swearingen said.

Covello said the first order of business will be compiling what is known as the second interim budget report, which is due to the state by March 15 each year. The report quantifies where the district is in relation to its $19 million budget for 2021-22 – how much money has been spent from July through January as well as projections for the final five months of the fiscal year that runs through June.

“This will be our first reporting period together and will give Daisy a good overview of each of

the reports she will need to be familiar with,” Covello explained.

The training period also will give Swearingen time to learn the ins and outs of the district’s financial accounting system; the various pots of money, where funding comes from and what it can be used for; and the reporting requirements to state and county business officials.

Swearingen – with Covello’s assistance — also will take the lead in preparing the district’s 2022-23 budget, which is expected to be about $18 million. The difference in comparison to this year’s budget reflects a reduction in state and federal COVID-relief money the district expects to receive in the next budget cycle, Covello said.

“The technical parts of this job are highly complex, so having Linda and Daisy work together for the remainder of the fiscal year will significantly benefit the district and set Daisy up for success,” Metzger said. 

The difference in a director of fiscal services and a chief business official is a matter of experience, training and certification. Even before she applied for her new role, Swearingen already completed a six-month academy on education finances from the Association of California School Administrators. In February, she will begin a yearlong program with the California Association of Business Officials to receive certification as fiscal services director.

Certification as a chief business official requires two more years of training, which Swearingen intends to pursue. Her new duties also include managing three employees in the business department as well as supporting classified managers in food services, maintenance and technology.

Metzger is confident Swearingen’s skill set, experience and reputation within the district make her the ideal choice to lead the business department.

“Daisy is deeply connected to the district and the Denair community as a whole,” Metzger said. “She is constantly thinking about how to support staff, students and families, and all of our programs. She’s well-liked and respected across the district.”

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