Schools Prepare for the Worst

Fresno Here in the Valley, Clovis and Fresno Unified are implementing changes now they say.

Clovis Unified is facing an 8.7 million dollar shortfall in the governor's proposed budget.

In anticipation, the district has offered some employees early retirement and has already implemented a hiring freeze.

Kelly Avants, Clovis Unified: "Knowing that by doing that it will give us more flexibility going into the next year as far as staffing and where we are going to put our resources and our people."

To avoid lay-offs and program cuts the district will have to dip into their 30 million dollar reserve next year.

"One of the things that we're considering is using some of those reserves to just soften our ability to make reductions over the course of 2 years instead of all in a single year."

Fresno Unified is also looking for ways to trim costs.

They too are operating with a healthy reserve of four percent, or 33.8 million dollars twice the amount mandated for school districts.

Ruth Quinto, Fresno Unified CFO: "We are not planning on using any of that in this fiscal year, but we do plan to use that in next fiscal year 08-09."

The governor's proposed education cuts would mean a 35 million dollar reduction in funding for Fresno Unified.

At this point and despite declining enrollment--the district does not anticipate any teacher lay-offs..

"We are a QUIA district and we are receiving those quality education act funds and anticipate hiring at least 60 teachers for QUIA."

The cuts will instead come from support departments such as marketing and human resources, which have been asked to reduce their budgets by 8%, next year.

"Those instructions are out right now and folks are working diligently to try and make those cuts in the way that will least impact our service to school sites."

To offset the budget shortfall at the board meeting, Clovis Unified will consider giving eligible teachers a one-time bonus instead of salary increases.

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