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Santa Clarita / Antelope Valley : Castaic Schools to Get New Business Manager

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

The Castaic Union School District is expected to hire a new business manager after a four-month search.

Michael Slater, a former business official for the Desert Sands Unified School District and onetime superintendent of the Moorpark Unified School District, has been offered Castaic’s $65,000-per-year post.

“I think one of the reasons Mike Slater was chosen is he has a wide range of experiences,” said Castaic Supt. Scott Brown.

Slater holds a doctorate in educational administration from UC Santa Barbara and bachelor’s and master’s degrees in political science from UC Davis. The Auburn resident was chosen from a field of 27 applicants.

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Castaic’s business manager is responsible for overseeing the district budget and $5.19-million general fund, non-teaching employees and new school construction efforts. The district has been operating without a business manager since the departure of Jim Bauler in August for a school district job in Northern California.

Trustees are scheduled to approve the hiring at their 6 p.m. meeting today at Live Oak Elementary School. Slater’s contract runs through June 30, 1995, and may be extended or otherwise amended by a vote of the trustees.

His hiring comes at a time when financial questions have been raised about the district. Trustees called for an independent audit in July after Brown used a district credit card for personal items he later repaid.

Critics questioned $1,259 in charges for items including travel expenses, hotel stays, car rentals and gifts. The accounting firm that regularly reviews the district’s financial matters determined that the superintendent’s actions were “in poor judgment” but not necessarily illegal.

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Trustees in November approved the guidelines for an independent audit by the Los Angeles County Office of Education’s Management Assistance Team, but didn’t authorize it because they didn’t know the cost. That decision is also expected tonight.

As proposed, the review includes checking district income and spending patterns for the past four years, evaluating business and personnel departments and examining enrollment projections for the next three to five years.


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