Three weeks after classes began, Arlington Classics Academy's top administrator is no longer listed on the school website. His name has been removed from the automated phone directory.
School officials won't disclose why Dan Clark is off the job, and they say the board has taken no formal action yet. The news comes as the school grapples with a budget shortfall that officials are trying to keep from affecting classroom instruction.
Clark, a former internal auditor for the Plano school district, became the academy's director of administration in November 2009.
Board President Terri Thibodeau said Tuesday that Clark has not been formally separated from the school, but she declined to comment further.
Clark, 53, who records show lives in Plano, could not be reached for comment. During his time at the school, which is rated exemplary by the Texas Education Agency, Clark oversaw its expansion to a second campus on Bowen Road.
The school put Clark on leave while grappling with a funding shortfall. The board is scheduled to meet tonight to approve a final budget for fiscal 2011-12, which begins Thursday.
"Our policy is not to comment on personnel matters," Thibodeau said. If and when the board takes final action, she said, it will be public record.
Thibodeau said the budget problems were the result of faulty assumptions, incorrect data entries, a decline in enrollment and less state funding than expected.
Last week, officials feared that the funding shortfall could be almost $685,000, but closer study by staff and a consultant trimmed the estimate to about $161,000. Hoping to avoid such measures as a teacher pay cut, board members discussed options Monday to raise revenue and reduce spending.
The school has 953 students at the new campus and at its other campus on Arkansas Lane in Dalworthington Gardens, though the number is expected to rise.
Adding a fourth-grade program could close the gap by $125,000, officials believe. Administrators at the Bowen campus will examine teacher schedules and begin contacting parents who have children on the fourth-grade waiting list.
Teachers, parents and board members also brainstormed fundraising ideas Monday.
"I feel pretty good about the situation as it stands now," Thibodeau said.
The school bought the Bowen Road property in June 2010 and originally planned to offer kindergarten through second grade and sixth and seventh grades this school year.
The decision to add third grade was made this spring when it appeared that the Legislature would cut public school funding.
The 7-acre former home of St. Alban's Episcopal School is known for the castlelike structure rising above its other buildings. An extensive overhaul installed new flooring, added walls and windows, and replaced the heating and air-conditioning units. What used to be a sanctuary was reconfigured for classrooms.
To finance it all, the school issued $16.2 million in bonds last fall through the new Arlington Higher Education Financing Corp., authorized by the City Council as a conduit issuer.
Revenue from the school's state funding allotment per student is pledged to secure the bonds. The figure was about $7,200 last year; officials are working with a figure of $6,708 this year.
Patrick M. Walker, 817-390-7423