Fresno Unified goes back to school

FRESNO, Calif.

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Students at Starr Elementary in Northwest Fresno arrived to find a renovated campus -- including brand new classes and library.

The Measure "K" funded improvements added to Monday's back-to-school excitement, but there were still the usual first-day jitters.

The district is also debuting 30 new CNG low emissions buses fitted with seatbelts.

Fresno Unified is California's fourth largest school district with over 73,000 students.

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Monday morning, nearly 73,000 Fresno Unified students will embark on a new school year. Fresno Police say with more cars on the road and children in the street, over the next two weeks, the department's traffic division will focus its attention on local school zones.

"They'll be in excess of 40 motor officers out there actively working school zones and crosswalk areas to make sure our kids do get to school safely on their first day," said Lt. Tom Rowe with the Fresno Police Department.

For students, the first day of school means stocking up on classroom necessities which normally costs the average family hundreds of dollars. According to the National Retail Federation, consumers will spend more than $55-billion this year, making back to school shopping the second consumer spending event behind the winter holidays.

"Clothes, shoes, uh my backpack is fine," said 11-year-old Matthew Adcock.

"How much do you expect to spend this year?

"Easily, anywhere, 200-300 dollars. Easily," said Parent Jon Livaudais.

Teachers are also putting their own money into the classroom. Monica Bravo, who will teach science at Ahwahnee Middle School this year, has already shelled out nearly $500 for decorations.

She's also spent countless hours of her summer vacation, working. "Professional development meetings, all kinds of summer stuff. So, no, I've been working almost every week this summer."

Still, she says at the end of the day it's all worth it. "I love meeting the kids and just the first day, they're all excited and they come in and shake your hand and they're all nervous and so I like meeting them and introducing them to what we're gonna do this year."

District officials tell us students shouldn't expect any significant changes this year. At some schools though, upgrades have been made and enrollment is up.

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