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Case Study

Putting People First in Education

How Fairfax School District uses Frontline systems to reclaim time to reinvest in people, support employees, and increase retention.

Fairfax School District Hero Image

District Background

“You want to make sure that the district’s running smoothly. You want to make sure that the district can continue to provide for its students, number one, but also for its employees, number two, because without those employees, we can’t service those students.”

Dr. David Mack, Chief Administrator of Business Services at Fairfax School District in Bakersfield, California, works hard to serve the people in the district — and he’ll be the first to tell you that his superintendent and other colleagues do as well. That includes approaching everything — from hiring and onboarding, to health and welfare, to payroll and benefits — from a human-centric perspective. “We want to make sure that our employees are taken care of. We want to make sure that they are getting paid on time with the right wages because we want to make sure that their families are taken care of well.”

Fairfax is a growing school district. 94% of its students are unduplicated, meaning they are either English Learners, qualify for free or reduced lunch, or are foster youth. “We’re definitely in a low-income area, an area that needs a lot of support, where about a third of the students are English learners,” says Dr. Mack.

People in the community love the district. “Today you have choices of where you go to school, where you live, where you move. Even in an area where we’re a lower socioeconomic level, we have people signing up for inter-district transfers to come to our schools because they know that our teachers, our staff, we care about their students.”

Clearly, putting people first makes a difference. It begins with leadership, but Dr. Mack says that having the right systems in place makes it much easier. That’s why Fairfax uses Frontline solutions to help recruit, hire, and onboard new employees, as well as track employee absences and time worked. “Any individual is going to have to make that choice to be human-centric. But it gives you the ability and the time — by the amount of time it saves you — that you can do it.”

Recruiting and Hiring

When Fairfax School District first began using Frontline Recruiting & Hiring, one assistant superintendent worried that it would make job interviews feel impersonal. But Dr. Mack says the system helps them treat applicants with greater care and respect. “Now you’re just sitting in front of them and you’ve got your computer. You type your notes, you score them, and then I instantly have all the results. We can go through our process and move them along the right way. We can select our candidates. We can bring them in for a second interview, we can notify them on the spot. We can notify the people that didn’t get the job right away so they know they don’t need to be in limbo waiting for a phone call.”

After using the system, the assistant superintendent is now a fan: “Now he’s like, ‘Oh my goodness, this is the best thing we’ve used. I have all the information at my fingertips.’”

Is the district able to hire people more quickly with Frontline? “Oh, a hundred percent,” says Dr. Mack. He can screen candidates on his phone — which he did recently at a conference when he had 20 minutes of spare time — and then send the candidates on to the hiring managers.


When new employees are hired, their information automatically carries over into Frontline Central, which serves as a hub between the district’s Frontline solutions. “It’s very easy to get people into the system. That’s what I’ve really liked. From Frontline Recruiting & Hiring, transferring them into Frontline Central, transferring them into Time and Attendance and Absence Management, and just making that a seamless process, has been very helpful.”

Dr. David Mack Photo

“All the systems talk to each other. They’re streamlined, they work well with each other. The support from you guys has been great. And implementation has been rather seamless. The system works. It works.” 

Dr. David Mack
– Chief Administrator of Business Services

Frontline Central also speeds up the process of collecting employee information that the district needs for the state for both new and existing employees. “There is so much in the state of California you have to get back, like disclosure statements, getting those signed year after year, making sure that we have updated emergency contacts, all these different HR things that we have to have. Now we have all our packets created, hit one button, and it goes to everyone. Everyone gets a notification. It gets submitted, and we know who hasn’t [submitted their packets] and can call those individuals.”

Because his team no longer needs to spend time compiling, distributing, and tracking these packets on paper, Dr. Mack says that using Frontline offers real savings in time and dollars. “We would literally spend a week putting these packets together, and then two weeks filing them all back into personnel files. Every single year, a staff of seven people getting paid between $20-$35 an hour, eight hours a day just working on that. That’s a real cost.”

Time and Dollar Savings Graphic

Paying Employees On Time

“I think it’s very important to pay people on time and accurately. That’s people’s money, and we take that personally — as we should,” says Dr. Mack. “We need to make sure that we don’t have errors when it comes to those issues.”

Fairfax School District uses Frontline Absence & Time to track absences and leave as well as employee time worked. This makes it much easier to ensure that payroll is correct. “I’ve never seen an error in payroll that was free.” A lot of the information that schools need to track, such as sick leave and vacation time, is more complicated than in the private sector, and having a system designed for K-12 helps Dr. Mack breathe easier.

“In schools, there’s generally vacation carryover.” Tracking that accurately to know what the carryover will be has a domino effect. “You carry that over, and then we pay out any overage over that so that we can keep those liabilities down on our books, which keeps our credit scores up, which then allows us to bond and get lower interest rates, which means that we can do better things for our students.” 

“If you’re not keeping track of all those things, it’s going to cost you money. And I guarantee you that it’s going to cost you more money than it would’ve been spending the money on a system.”

Dr. David Mack
– Chief Administrator of Business Services

It’s also much easier for supervisors to verify and approve timecards electronically than it had been on paper. Once again, time saved equals money saved. “Time is always a real cost. If our administrators are spending less time on overseeing mid-month overtime and they get through it accurately, now you can have them invest the time that you’re already paying them for into something more productive for students. We can spend more time helping students than making sure that overtime was accounted for correctly.”


Dr. Mack says these systems help him and his colleagues at Fairfax reclaim more time to spend with the teachers and staff who are the heartbeat of the district. “We want to make sure we support them, and I think Frontline is a program that helps us support them in a big way.”

That’s one reason why so many people choose to work — and stay — in Fairfax. The human support the district provides, competitive salaries, and high expectations for teachers and staff all contribute to a culture that attracts people who embrace the mission of education, which leads to high retention rates. “The majority of teachers working for our district have been here for 10 to 15 years.”

“Individuals are always going to have to pick that option to put people first. I don’t think Frontline is going to make you do it, but it gives you the ability to. If you didn’t have it, it would be a lot harder.”

Dr. David Mack
– Chief Administrator of Business Services