The district has a reputation of being a good steward of taxpayer money and for working with the community, Lueck said.
"I believe we definitely need to communicate and try and look at complex issues in straightforward and simplistic ways," she said. "I feel very honored to be here and I believe that that is our roll and responsibility and it's really a very positive thing to come to a district that already has that culture and protocol."
Lueck, who has 21 years of experience and has worked for the Simi Valley and South Pasadena unified school districts before working at Pasadena Unified School District for the last two years, replaced Steve Hodgson, who retired after 15 years.
Hodgson is working as a private consultant for the Pasadena Unified School District until officials there find Lueck's replacement, school board member Pam Ellis said.
Hodgson was a master of realigning funds, Ellis said, adding that Lueck has similar tact that could come in handy on issues like figuring out how to work with state money.
The district has often shifted money from category A to category B in its budget when officials know money from the state had to be spent on Category A and Category B needed more funding, Ellis said.
"We might be required to spend money in a certain area so we just move that," Ellis said.
"You have to, really. And we do because we want to have more flexibility."
Lueck is already thinking about how to use the money and how to tweak the budget to meet district goals.
"Part of the frustration is we haven't received the final guidelines," she said.
"In some cases, we know what we will receive but there is no criteria on how to spend it. We have to try to realign how to use that money and Supt. [Michael Escalante] has mentioned that we need to go slow and think about it."
It is common for the state to provide money to districts then dictate how or what they can spend the money on, she said.
"It is an issue every district is aware of," she said. "The dollars are supposed to be spent in specific categories but we have to look at our priorities and see if there are any ways … we can shift dollars in our budget so we can maximize the benefits. That is a real challenge for all districts and we need to work within those rules."
Ellis already likes how Lueck is thinking.
"I'm sure she is very familiar with our district," Ellis said.
"That is very exciting because those are the kinds of ideas — while still being fiscally conservative — that we need out of a [CFO]."
VINCE LOVATO covers education. He may be reached at (818) 637-3215 or by e-mail at vincent.lovatolatimes.com.