FUSD Cutbacks ... Questionable Hire

January 30, 2009 6:15:00 PM PST
With the state budget crisis growing, Fresno Unified is taking new steps to cut back on spending.The Chief Financial Officer at Fresno Unified says a hiring and purchase suspension could save the district a lot of money but it's raising more questions about the latest hire.

Less than 24 hours after announcing the hiring of the New Associate Superintendent ... Fresno Unified Officials received this email from Superintendent Michael Hansen.

It reads "this year the state budget crisis is more desperate than anyone could have imagined. In order to preserve resources to every extent possible I have implemented a suspension of all hiring as well as purchases over $250 dollars.

Ruthie Quinto said, "We're implementing a much more scrutinous process that is deliberative in spending."

Chief Financial Officer Ruthy Quinto says the suspension means all school supplies over $250 dollars and critical new hires must be approved first. This comes one day after the Board hired Associate Superintendent Jorge Aguilar for close to $150 thousand dollars a year. Aguilar will be responsible for making sure grades and attendance records are handled properly.

Greg Gadams said, "I think the community should be outraged."

Greg Gadams with the Fresno Teachers Association believes the money could have been better spent on students.

"This position coming in to almost 200 thousand dollars when you add everyting up could have funded over one third of the years supplies," said Gadams.

Quinto says the cutbacks can possibly save a million dollars for the school system.

"Slowing down spending gives us more flexibility and resources to push forward incentives we know will make a difference to kids in the classroom," said Quinto.

Quinto says in moving forward with the district's plans there could be other items that seem to be in contradiction to saving money. She insists the district is trying to save jobs by cutting spending.

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