DUSD Trustees Approve Salary Restoration

Submitted by Denair Unified School District:

Employees are the biggest winners in the $15.3 million budget for 2019-20 approved unanimously Thursday night by the Denair Unified School District board.

As expected, the spending plan includes salary restoration for teachers, administrators and other staff, all of whom took substantial pay cuts six years ago when the district faced financial crisis.

“The trustees were thrilled to see this happen,” Superintendent Terry Metzger said Friday. “This has been their priority.”

Restoration was achieved via a number of factors that either reduced expenses or increased revenue.

One of the key moments came this spring when Gov. Gavin Newsom chose to contribute more to the State Teachers Retirement System, or STRS. That decision will save Denair $87,500 in the next budget year, Chief Business Officer Linda Covello told trustees last week. That money will be devoted to salary restoration.

So will an estimated $110,000 saved through a dramatic reduction in out-of-town travel, lodging, meals and other costs associated with teacher and staff training in 2019-20. Instead, Covello explained, the professional development focus next year will be on training done internally or on campus. That decision was reached after positive discussions between staff and administrators.

Finally, the district expects to increase revenue from the state by about $60,000 based on having improved attendance rates at all its campuses this year.

In other action, trustees:

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Complete Salary Restoration Projected in 2019-20 Budget

Submitted by Denair Unified School District:

It has taken more than six years, been the source of much angst for employees and been the highest priority for the Denair Unified School District board, and now it’s on the verge of happening. Salary restoration is about to become a reality if, as expected, trustees approve the 2019-20 budget at a special meeting next week.

By now, most who are familiar with the district know the story. In 2013, facing a financial crisis rooted in declining enrollment and reduced state reimbursements, Denair was threatened with state takeover if it didn’t drastically reduce expenses.

That led to painful cuts in salaries for all employees – 12.75% for classified (non-teaching) staff and 8% for teachers and administrators.

Almost from the moment those reductions were enacted, salary restoration became a mantra – not just for employee unions, but also for board members and the past two superintendents. Little by little over the past five years, salaries have been partially restored.

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Summer School Starts Monday for Denair Teenagers

Submitted by Denair Unified School District

Summer school begins Monday for students of Denair High School and Denair Charter Academy. Classes will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the DCA campus for four weeks. Students in grades nine through 12 may register at the DHS office through Friday.

Principals Linda Neely and Jamie Pecot are expecting up to 150 students, about equally divided between independent study DCA students taking English, math and science courses for credit recovery and DHS students taking cyber classes.

The morning session is from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. After a 30-minute lunch break, the afternoon session runs from noon to 3 p.m.

DCA students are required to meet on campus with their instructor once a week. The DHS students report to class each day, with the bulk of their instruction happening online.

All classes are worth five credits; students can take two. To receive full credit, students can miss no more than two days of summer school. The final day of class is June 28.

Breakfast and lunch are free for all students. The meals will be served at the Denair Elementary Charter Academy cafeteria adjacent to the DCA campus.

Contact: Linda Neely and Jamie Pecot, principals
(209) 632-9911 or lneely@dusd.k12.ca.us or jpecot@dusd.k12.ca.us

Denair Charter Academy Honors 76 Graduates

Submitted by Denair Charter Academy

Denair Charter Academy proudly celebrated the academic achievements of the 76 members of the Class of 2019 at a graduation ceremony Wednesday night at Jack Lytton Stadium.

Students Jasmine Solorio, Eddie Gomez and Catalina Serpa all spoke in addition to Principal Breanne Aguiar and Superintendent Terry Metzger.

Solorio delivered a welcome address for students, their families, Denair Unified board members and others in attendance. Gomez dedicated a poem to his fellow classmates and Serpa provided a student message.

DCA offers a rigorous independent study school option for students whose academic needs cannot be met in a traditional environment.

“We are proud of the accomplishments of each and every one of our students,” Aguiar said. “They have all traversed challenging obstacles, but have persevered and are on their way to pursuing their lifelong goals. To see our students walk across the stage was powerful. This is when you know you are making an impact. This is what we live for as educators.”

Mobile Medical, Dental Clinics Serve Nearly 200 Students

For the first time Thursday, May 23, 2019, the Denair Unified School District offered free medical and dental care for nearly 200 students thanks to a series of partnerships with regional providers.

The medical care – immunization shots, sports physicals, primary and basic health screening – involved more than 150 students. They were seen at a mobile health RV owned by Castle Family Health Centers in Atwater. It was staffed by Castle nurses and medical assistants along with medical residents from the UCSF Fresno training program.

The cost was picked up by Legacy Health Endowment, whose mission is to provide financial and technical support to improve the health of people living in Stanislaus and Merced counties. The nonprofit was created in 2014 as part of Tenet Healthcare’s acquisition of Emanuel Medical Center in Turlock.

The dental clinic was provided by Big Smiles, which brings dental services to schools in 19 states.

In all cases, parents filled out permission slips ahead of time allowing doctors, nurses and dental professionals to treat the students. School officials created a schedule to minimize wait times.

The timing of the clinics occurring on the same day – which also was the final day of school – was intentional, said Denair Superintendent Terry Metzger.

“We wanted to offer them both together,” she said. “This allows us to get our student athletes to get their sports physicals for summer practice and fall and winter sports. And our principals tell us that dental care is actually a bigger need for our families than medical care. It’s a gap for them.”

Jeffrey Lewis, the CEO of Legacy Health Endowment, said the goal of the medical clinic is to “keep kids healthy and help parents understand that they don’t have to pay for health care, that we can use charitable dollars to help families access free medical care.”

With that in mind, there already are plans for the medical team to return to Denair on July 31.

The dental team was comprised of licensed local dentists and dental hygienists. Services include an examination, cleaning, fluoride, X-rays and sealants.

Each child received an oral health report card to take home after the dental visit. Patient care coordinators will contact parents of students needing additional follow-up by mail or phone. One first-grader had such a positive experience that he told a staff member walking him back to class that he likes the dentist. “My teeth feel good,” he said. “I want to go back.”