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Message from Jorge Aguilar : I Am Ready College Information Packets Mailed to 4,000+ Seniors
When we launched our Equity and Access work in 2009 in partnership with the University of California, Merced, we set out to "give all students an equal opportunity to graduate with the greatest number of postsecondary choices from the widest array of options." This language became the guiding principle of Equity and Access.
Rising to the Challenge: Measure X would Fund School Improvement Projects
In preparation for the community's Nov. 8 vote on the $225 million Measure X, the district sought input at high school regional meetings on new facilities and has approved a list of special projects that would be funded by Measure X if it passes.
- $90 million for classrooms, technology and support facilities - includes new school for southeast
- $25 million for career technical education facilities
- $50 million for arts, activities and athletics facilities
- $25 million for safety and security improvements
- $35 million for infrastructure repairs/upgrades, such as air conditioning
The projects reflects community input gathered at seven regional outreach meetings throughout the district in late August and September and from responses to an online survey asking for feedback on prioritizing future facility projects. The projects list also reflects input from the Fresno Unified Board of Education.
The board also updated high school master plans Sept. 28 to reflect community and board member input. The updated high school master plans identify potential Measure X projects and future investments when resources are available
They also reflect investments from Measure Q, the $280 million bond measure passed by a 76% vote of the community in 2010 and retain priority projects while recognizing projected funding availability.
Additional input will be sought from high school community prior to project implementation.
The bond measure would be used to fund a portion of the district's $1 billion in facility needs, as outlined in the Facilities Master Plan, while maintaining the current authorized tax rate and building upon previous investments.
Fresno Unified uses its Facilities Master Plan as one tool for facilities planning. The plan, developed with extensive community input and approved by the Board of Education in April 2009, provides guidance and vision for improving district facilities while anticipating future needs.
At the time the master plan was approved, it was anticipated that several bond measures would be needed over a period of many years to fund the needed improvements. Measure Q in 2010 provided funding for the first approximately one-third of that need.
Incorporated in the Facilities Master Plan are long-range high school master plans, which were approved in March 2011 after extensive community feedback. Like the Facilities Master Plan, the long-range high school master plans are monitored and amended as necessary and are used to provide guidance for future facility investments.
The community's feedback showed that the district should focus on:
- New and updated classrooms and technology
- New facilities for career technical education programs in high-demand jobs and growth industries
- Safety and security improvements
- Facilities for arts, activities and athletics
- Repairs and upgrades to the district's infrastructure, such as heating and air conditioning
Project implementation will be based on needs and priorities and funding availability. Estimated bond amounts are preliminary projections, with actual bond expenditures depending on the scope of projects and specifications, fluctuation in the cost of construction and state funding.
Other projects not specifically listed may be recommended for bond funding if they are eligible projects per the ballot and meet district needs.
$90 Million: Classrooms, Technology, Support Facilities
- Build new classrooms to replace portables
- Renovate/expand cafeterias, libraries and administration facilities
- Renovate/upgrade classrooms
- Convert/upgrade science and technology labs
- New southeast school
$25 Million: Career Technical Education Facilities (CTE)
- New/renovated classrooms and labs at Duncan Polytechnical High School
- Converted/renovated CTE classrooms districtwide
$50 Million: Arts, Activities and Athletics Facilities
- Gyms and locker rooms
- Music rooms
- Visual arts classrooms
- Athletic fields
$25 Million: Safety and Security
- Drop-off/pick-up and bus zones
- Fencing, gates, facility modifications
- Lighting and security cameras
- Public address and alarm systems
$35 Million: Infrastructure Repairs/Upgrades
- Multi-purpose room air conditioning
- Heating, electrical, gas, irrigation, water, drainage systems
- Infrastructure for instructional technology
- Energy/resource conservation projects
District Starting Students Early on Road to Workplace Success
Students in third through sixth grades are participating in grade-specific activities this school year that will help them be successful after high school -- whether in the work place or at college -- and learn about a variety of careers early on.
Fresno Unified Students of all Ages Exhibit at ArtHop
George Morales, in transitional kindergarten at Aynesworth Elementary School, drew a picture of his mom, dad and cousin with pen and colored pencils. Edison High School student Miguel Manzo used mixed media to create a detailed drawing of two hands shaking.
Vinland Teacher: It all Starts with Learning to Love to Read
Stephen Tatum, a 2016 Excellence in Education finalist, has worked for the district for 32 years, 28 of his career at Vinland Elementary School teaching fourth through sixth grade. He teaches fifth grade this year. Vinland vice principal Lisa Benavidez said Tatum has high expectations for students, who grow not only academically in his class but in their improved behavior. "He is a team player and is a father figure to many of our students. Mr. Tatum is influential among our young men on our campus," she said.
Measure Q Refinance Saves $56 Million
The Fresno Unified Board of Education voted at its meeting Aug. 24 to issue up to $127 million in Measure Q refinancing bonds, a move that takes advantage of historically low bond interest rates.
The bonds were sold to investors in the amount of $120.1 million on Sept. 14 and resulted in savings to the taxpayers of $56.7 million in debt payments, a present value of $32.6 million.
"The Board of Education is always pleased to make fiscally sound decisions that will save our taxpayers tens of millions of dollars," said Board President Luis Chavez. "This action will provide more capacity for capital projects in the future."
On a 6-0-1 vote, the Board of Education approved a resolution authorizing the issuance and sale of General Obligation Refunding Bonds: Measure Q, Series A and Series B.
Measure Q is a school bond measure approved by 76% of Fresno Unified voters in November 2010. Measure Q has upgraded classrooms, labs, technology, and libraries, improved safety and security measures, increased access for students with disabilities, and built new classrooms and new schools.
Exemplary Night Custodian at Fresno High Loves his Campus -- and Spiders
Randel Thomas, a custodian at Fresno High School for nine years, comes in behind students and teachers at 2:30 p.m. every day and works his magic on the campus to restore order and cleanliness. Vice Principal Laurinda Blanco says Thomas' exuberance for his work "brightens not only the darkened, nighttime campus but those who have the privilege to work with him." Thomas was a 2016 Excellence in Education finalist.
What is the best part about your job? Helping our teachers.
What are your goals as you go to work every night? To do the best that I can.
What's something people do not know about night custodians? We don't work all day and night. We have shifts.
Any truth to the rumor that Royce Hall is haunted? No! That was me singing.
What is one thing most people do not know about you? I like spiders.
If you could choose any profession, what would you choose? To be an avian veterinarian -- a bird doctor.
What's your dream vacation? To see the swallows at San Juan Capistrano.
2016 Important Dates
Nov. 9 and 16 Board of Education meetings
Nov. 11 Veterans Day holiday
Nov. 15 Regional meeting at McLane High School for Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP)
Nov. 21-25 Thanksgiving holiday
Nov. 29 Regional meeting at Sunnyside High School for LCAP
Dec. 1 Deadline for choice schools applications
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LCAP Meetings Planned
The community is invited to attend regional meetings to provide input on the Local Control Accountability Plan. The meetings begin at 5:30 p.m.
Nov. 15: McLane High School
Nov. 29: Sunnyside High School
Dec. 1: Hoover High School
Dec. 7: Patiño School of Entrepreneurship (for communities of Design Science and Duncan high schools as well)
Dec. 12: Edison High School
Jan. 12: Fresno High School
Jan. 17: Bullard High School
Jan. 24: Roosevelt High School