Education

Teachers Assn. concerned over Fresno Unified funding

Thursday, October 06, 2011

The Fresno Teachers Association is upset about school funding at Fresno Unified. The union is concerned state money for low-performing schools is being misused, and it accuses the district of "pulling a fast one" in order to qualify for millions of dollars.

The issue is over the Quality Education Investment Act (Q.E.I.A.). It' California's latest K through 12 intervention program to support low performing schools.

The state will allocate close to $3-billion through this seven year program to help schools meet performance and resource requirements.

The two sides are at odds over how to qualify for the money.

Fresno Teachers Association President Greg Gadams is concerned 18 low-performing schools in the Fresno Unified School District could lose out on millions of dollars in state funding over an incident that took place late last year. Gadams accuses the district of borrowing a handful of teachers from Fresno High School and forcing them to pose as Cooper Middle School teachers for the last week of class. He insists the move short changed students and was in violation of Q.E.I.A. legislation and California law.

"To go to the last week of school and say we have everything in place we should for the whole year, for the four days when they should have done it for months, that's morally bankrupt," said Gadams.

But Superintendent Michael Hanson says the district's decision to move the teachers from one school to another for the last 5 days was technically compliant. "We did things I would stand by. We were technically correct under the law to have teachers of record and taking roll. They were not assigning grades and all of the stuff that people want to make up. We've asked and answered these questions all year long and over the summer as well."

Participating schools receive $500 for each Kindergarten through third grade student, $900 for each child in grades 4-8, and $1,000 for each high school students.

Hanson now must prove his case to the state in order to keep the funding in place until the program runs out in 2015. He plans to plead his case by taking a waiver to the State Board of Education. He should hear back sometime next month. Hanson says he's also working with district staff in how to move forward with Q.E.I.A. funding in all schools in the program.

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Tags:
fresno, fresno county, fresno unified school district, education, linda mumma
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