Carolyn Brown Retires from DUSD Board After 28 Years of Service

Carolyn Brown

Submitted by Denair Unified School District

There isn’t much that Carolyn Brown hasn’t experienced in 28 years on the Denair Unified School District school board.

Academic achievement, the passage of two bonds to build beautiful new facilities and the restoration of community pride. Controversies over the American flag, near bankruptcy and two attempts to redraw the district’s boundaries. Six superintendents, two interim superintendents and at least 22 other board members.

Through it all, the one constant has been Brown, who began her tenure on Denair board as the mother of two elementary-age daughters in 1987 and leaves as the grandmother of five. Thursday night was her final meeting after deciding not to seek an eighth four-year term.

Her colleagues presented her with a clock, marveled at her institutional memory and praised her as a calming voice of reason even during the most turbulent times.

“It’s your caring, first of all,” said Superintendent Aaron Rosander, addressing Brown. “You truly care. You’re poised, even under intense conditions. You are a very sensible person and weigh things out. I really admire that. … Thanks for putting an indelible mark on many, many kids through the years.”

Trustee Robert Hodges – who is 29 years old – joked that Brown, 69, has served nearly as long as he’s been alive. He also appreciated her quiet wisdom.

“It’s been great for me, as the youngest board member, to always have a shoulder to lean on. ‘How does this work? What happened in the past?’” said Hodges. “I can’t count how many times she’s tried to tell me something and I didn’t agree. Two days later, I’d have to text her and say, ‘You were right.’ ” Continue reading “Carolyn Brown Retires from DUSD Board After 28 Years of Service” »

Storer Transportation Hired to Provide Drivers and Maintenance

DUSDbus

Submitted by Denair Unified School District

A contract with Storer Transportation Services of Modesto to take over transportation services was approved Thursday night by the Denair Unified School District Board of Trustees.

Storer has furnished drivers to operate Denair’s buses on an emergency basis since the first of the year. The new contract will pay the company $75,400 for the remainder of this school year. The conditions of the deal require Storer to use and maintain Denair’s four buses and offer an equivalent position to the district’s former transportation supervisor.

Denair needs two drivers each in the morning and afternoon to handle its routes. Repeated recruitment efforts last fall generated no qualified applicants. Instead, other district employees certified to drive a bus – a custodian, a utility worker and a transportation supervisor – had to take time away from their other duties.

About 120 of Denair’s 1,300 elementary through high school students ride the bus daily. District officials said the outsourcing arrangement will be re-evaluated at the end of the school year.

Denair Board Considers Storer for Transportation Services

DUSDbus

Submitted by Denair Unified School District

A company that has supplied bus drivers on an emergency basis since the first of the year is expected to be hired on a full-time basis at a special meeting of the Denair Unified School District board tonight.

Denair needs two drivers each in the morning and afternoon to handle its routes. But repeated recruitment efforts last fall generated no qualified applicants. Instead, other district employees qualified to drive a bus – a custodian, a utility worker and a transportation supervisor – had to take time away from their other duties.

Since the first of the year, Storer Transportation Services of Modesto has furnished drivers to operate Denair’s buses. At tonight’s meeting, trustees will consider whether to make that arrangement permanent through the end of this school year in May.

Storer was the only bus company to respond after the school board requested bids in December.

The proposed contract would pay Storer $75,400 for the remainder of this school year. The conditions of the deal require Storer to use and maintain Denair’s four buses and offer an equivalent position to the district’s former transportation supervisor.

About 120 of Denair’s 1,300 elementary through high school students ride the bus daily, district officials said. Linda Covello, Denair’s chief business officer, said the outsourcing arrangement will be re-evaluated at the end of the school year.

Tonight’s DUSD Board of Trustees meeting begins at 7 p.m. in the Leadership/Board Room, 3460 Lester Road, Denair. The full agenda is available on the district’s website.

Denair Board Moves to Hire Private Bus Services

DUSD School Bus

Submitted by Denair Unified School District

A shortage of qualified bus drivers and mechanics prompted the Denair Unified School District board to unanimously pass an emergency declaration Thursday night to immediately seek bids from a private company to provide the service.

About 120 of Denair’s 1,300 elementary through high school students ride the bus daily, district officials said. Despite repeated recruitment efforts, Denair has been unable to find two qualified applicants to work the daily four-hour bus driver shifts. Drivers were paid between $13.50 and $16 per hour, depending upon experience.

Instead, other district employees qualified to drive a bus – a custodian, a utility worker and a transportation supervisor – have had to take time away from their other duties. In some cases, they also have had to work overtime.

When its own fill-in employees have been unavailable, Denair has had to contract with the Hughson Unified School District to provide bus services.

“We are little one absence away from the buses collapsing. If one of these employees is out, we would be in an untenable situation,” said Superintendent Aaron Rosander, who stressed the need to provide reliable transportation to students.

The emergency declaration allows Denair to seek bids in a compressed time frame. Meanwhile, when school resumes January 5, 2015, after the holiday break, the district expects to drivers from Storer Transportation of Modesto operating the buses while bids are being evaluated.

The change will not affect the route schedule, said Linda Covello, Denair’s chief business officer. She said the new company will be expected to use the four DUSD buses and offer an equivalent position to the current transportation supervisor.

Covello said Denair expects to spend about $75,000 to outsource busing, which would save about $39,000 from what was budgeted. The new company will provide bus services for the remainder of this school year, at which time the outsourcing arrangement will be re-evaluated.