Budget improvements for Fresno Unified

May 22, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
Big changes are coming to Valley schools next fall. After years of budget cuts Fresno Unified officials now plan to expand education programs.

The district is looking to bring on 40-50 new teachers for the next school year. The district's Chief Financial Officer says Proposition 30 funds are going to change a lot of learning experiences for Valley students.

After several lengthy discussions Fresno Unified and the school board are almost ready to approve the budget for the next school year which will fund the changes thanks to Prop 30.

"Two of the most important opportunities for expansion are in the way of middle school opportunities are well as early learning for four year olds in the district," said Ruthie Quinto, the district's CFO.

Middle schools will see the biggest changes. 33 teachers will be in place to teach the arts next fall. Schedule changes will also be made to offer the new courses during school hours.

"So we are making sure every middle school has a music teacher, a performing arts teacher and a teacher that has a credential in a language other than English," Quinto said.

The youngest FUSD students will also benefit from the quarter-cent temporary sales tax. By next fall 62 elementary schools in Fresno will offer transitional kindergarten.

The classes allow four year olds more learning opportunities. The district says TK courses should help students become skilled readers and writers by the third grade.

"If we have proficient third graders we will produce career ready graduates," said Quinto.

Other changes coming to Fresno Unified focus on discipline. Wednesday, the board also heard proposed revisions for absence accountability, truancy and anti-bullying policies. Those policy changes, and the budget, will be voted on in two weeks.

The board is also keeping a close eye on the state capitol, as California law makers may soon adopt new education standards. Those would align the state with many others across the country. The good news there, Governor Jerry Brown says that would bring millions to Valley schools to prepare everyone for the changes.


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