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Positive outlook for FUSD financial fund

02.09.2012 | ABC30.com | Carlos Saucedo

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) —
Fresno Unified Superintendent Michael Hanson gave a positive outlook for
the school district’s future, despite the state’s financial mess. The
school district does not plan to layoff or furlough teachers next year
but will dip into its reserve fund.

 

Students at Thomas Elementary School
in Northeast Fresno are getting a jumpstart on their educational
careers. “He should have been going into Kindergarten this year and he
would have been fine. But we didn’t want fine. We wanted him to be
confident,” said Amber Flores. Flores’ 5-year-old has been
participating in Transitional Kindergarten — a new grade level designed
to better prepare low-income students before they enter traditional
Kindergarten.

Gov. Jerry Brown
has proposed eliminating the program to save money but Fresno Unified
officials say they have enough money to keep it running. “Because of
the decisions that we’ve made, we are prepared for the downturn in the
budget, we are prepared for just about anything the legislature might
throw at us,” said Janet Ryan, a Fresno Unified Trustee.

The
school board’s confidence stems from a strong reserve fund built by
reducing their budget by about $100 million over the past several years.
“We have redirected funds while we were shrinking budgets and we have
more than doubled our summer school participation and targeted those
resources to keep students on target and back on track for graduation,”
said FUSD’s Superintendent Michael Hanson.
Hanson says the district will not have to layoff or furlough any
teachers next year. He’s hopeful the district will not have to rely on
money from Gov. Brown’s proposed tax-hike.

“As we complete the
budget development process and the board adopts a budget in June based
on the current level of resources, then we’ll immediately begin planning
for the possibility that we can have additional resources after the
November election,” said Ruthie Quinto, FUSD’s Chief Financial Officer.

For now, school officials say they continue to focus resources on
programs they believe will help students succeed, like Transitional
Kindergarten. “I’m glad that they were able to look at the budget and
be able to get some early education things in,” said Flores.

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