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Twin Ridges district responds to concerns

Board members at the Twin Ridges Elementary School District met Tuesday to respond to the county school superintendent’s concerns in a “give and take” discussion.

While they refuted Terry McAteer’s allegations, they agreed they would show him a plan for the district’s financial future. The district will soon lose money when some of its out-of-county schools leave due to state law.

A special advisory committee including parents, principals, and charter school directors compiled a set of questions that rose in response to McAteer’s allegations. The purpose of Tuesday’s meeting was to discuss the queries.



Twin Ridges Elementary School District Interim Superintendent Larry Meek said McAteer had two main concerns about the district’s finances. In his letters to the board dated Sept. 12 and Oct. 10, McAteer emphasized the need for a plan for the district’s business enterprise program and worried about how the district would make up for the fiscal loss when its out-of-county schools depart.

The board responded that McAteer should share some of the blame for the problems.




“As a district downsizing as a result of state regulations, it behooves the district and Superintendent McAteer to share information and direction to better support the students of Nevada County,” the board responded in a statement. “We do not understand why Superintendent McAteer chose not to include the added loss of the in-county charter schools as an additional factor to be considered by … the Twin Ridges Elementary School District.”

Despite their disagreements, Meek said the board will comply with McAteer’s request and submit a plan for the business enterprise program on Dec. 15 – the deadline for the first interim budget. The business enterprise program, according to Meek, involves business functions that the Twin Ridges school district performs for a charter school outside the district. Those functions include payroll and other payroll-related tasks, Meek said.

If defense of the business enterprise program, Meek said, ” We have a very healthy ending fund balance of $1.7 million dollars which is twice the required 3 percent reserve and we are going to use that to mitigate the loss of charter schools.”

McAteer also alleged in his letters that the board had squandered funds by giving “ludicrous” salary hikes to two of their administrators. Board members said the raises were given because the administrators had taken on added responsibilities and were working well beyond their hours for many years.

DeOnne Noel, a board member said the board didn’t know why McAteer became “furious” only “two days after we re-hired Larry Pastore (assistant superintendent of business services).”

Pastore, who formerly was the assistant superintendent of fiscal services with Twin Ridges, was hired by McAteer as the director of district services. He quit McAteer’s office and was re-hired by Twin Ridges with a major pay raise.

“We will continue to seek appropriate measures to get the answers,” Noel said, about McAteer’s negative reaction to the district. “It is our intention to work for the children and with the charter schools who want to be with us.”

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To contact Soumitro Sen, e-mail soumitros@theunion.com or call 477-4229.


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