Denair Board Proposes ‘Bold, New Future’ that Includes K-12 Charter and Parcel Tax

Submitted by Denair Unified School District

Citing the need to chart a “bold, new future,” the Denair Unified School District Board of Trustees unveiled a plan Thursday night intended to confront chronic enrollment challenges and provide a reliable funding stream to increase teacher pay.

Board President Ray Prock Jr. read a three-page statement at the regular monthly board meeting that makes the case for a new charter covering all grade levels to create “a seamless academic progression” from kindergarten through high school.

Prock also laid the groundwork to ask district voters in November to pass a parcel tax of up to $100 annually. That money, he promised, would be used to “compensate our employees – our teachers, aides, specialists, campus supervisors, maintenance staff and others – at a level that is fair and competitive in the market.”

Five years ago, facing financial crisis driven by the Great Recession and reduced state funding, Denair was forced to slash salaries for all employees up to 11%. Pay raises over the past two years have restored some, but not all, of employees’ pay.

To pass, a parcel tax requires two-thirds approval from those who vote.

“For that reason,” Prock said, “it is critical that the district provides its community stakeholders with all the relevant information for them to make an informed decision.”

The board invited parents, staff and others in the community to collaborate on the district’s new direction. Prock promised that there would be multiple focus groups and opportunities for people to participate and that the board would “actively and carefully listen in order to … gain your trust.”

“Our goal, through these community interactions, is to identify practical steps that will stabilize enrollment trends and lead to enrollment growth at the middle school and high school,” he said.

Denair has 1,272 students on its four campuses – Denair High School, Denair Middle School, Denair Elementary Charter Academy and Denair Charter Academy (which provides support and curriculum to home-school parents as well as independent study options for high school students.) Continue reading “Denair Board Proposes ‘Bold, New Future’ that Includes K-12 Charter and Parcel Tax” »

DUSD Officials and Teachers Thrilled With Plans for DECA


Submitted by Denair Unified School District

Denair schools trustees and the public will have their first chance Thursday night to publicly review plans for a revamped elementary charter school.

The proposal calls for Denair Elementary School and the adjacent Denair Academic Avenues to form a new school known as Denair Elementary Charter Academy, or DECA, for the 2015-16 school year.  Together, the two campuses now have about 500 kindergarten through fifth-grade students from Denair and surrounding areas.

DECA’s mission, according to the proposed new charter, “is to provide students with an engaging, nurturing, equitable learning environment that promotes the development of skills necessary for the 21st century.”

The curriculum will be rich with core subjects such as language arts, math, science, social science and physical education. Electives will include world/foreign languages, drama, music, art, dance and computer instruction.

Already, DECA’s dual immersion English/Spanish class for kindergartens is proving to be popular, with 26 students signed up and five on a waiting list, said Principal Sara Michelena. A second class could be added if there at least 40 students.

The class will follow the 90% Spanish and 10% English dual immersion model, Michelena said. The goal is to have a 50/50 mix of English and Spanish speakers. The intent, she said, is to add a dual immersion class at successive grade levels each year as the first group of kindergartners gets older.

All other DECA students also will have regular Spanish instruction, Michelena said. In addition, the new charter school will have two 30-station computer labs to teach tech skills and will continue to focus on arts enrichment for all students. Even at the elementary level, there will be an emphasis on building a college-going culture among children. Continue reading “DUSD Officials and Teachers Thrilled With Plans for DECA” »