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Editorial: Fresno Unified wisely manages its finances

02.09.2012 | Fresno Bee

In this tough economic environment for government
agencies, the Fresno Unified School District has managed its finances to
the point where it can avoid layoffs next school year, and is even
going to expand its transitional kindergarten program to all elementary
schools.

The district has not been spending its reserves, knowing
that the state may make additional education funding reductions as Gov.
Jerry Brown and the Legislature attempt to balance the state budget. Not
all California school systems have managed their budgets as wisely.

Superintendent
Michael Hanson and Trustee Janet Ryan made the budget announcement
Wednesday, saying they are optimistic about the district’s finances
because of its cash reserve.

We support transitional kindergarten
because it will better prepare youngsters for their elementary school
years. Laying a strong educational foundation is a key to student
success and ultimately will help improve the dropout rate.

A
change in state law leaves some children who would have gone into
kindergarten in limbo. The 2010 Kindergarten Readiness Act changed the
date by which children must turn 5 to enter kindergarten — from Dec. 2
to Sept. 1. The change will be phased in one month yearly over three
years starting this fall.

Hanson said he will ask the school board next month to approve
his proposed expansion of transitional kindergarten to all elementary
schools within the next two years.

Transitional kindergarten was
created when then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed legislation that
raised the starting age for kindergarten. But Gov. Brown has said he
will cut the program to help close the state budget gap. But Fresno
Unified thinks it is important enough to fund the program locally.

The
district is able to improve this program because the superintendent and
the board have done a good job managing the district budget. That will
translate into a better education for district students.

Read more here: http://www.fresnobee.com/2012/02/09/2715994/editorial-fresno-unified-wisely.html#storylink=cpy
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