Clovis Unified Superintendent Eimear O’Farrell said earlier this year that the district receives the lowest amount of per-student state funding among Fresno County school districts.
The 43,000-student district is also one of only two local districts not receiving concentration grant dollars under California’s Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF).
Incoming Clovis School Board trustees Susan Hatmaker and Tiffany Madsen join a board that is wrestling with the funding challenge, as well as the district’s rapidly increasing enrollment. Both will be sworn in at tonight’s board meeting.
Overcoming Funding Challenges
Madsen has two answers to the district’s funding challenges: legislative advocacy and stewardship.
“We need to ensure that Clovis continues to be good custodians of the limited resources we have by maximizing efficiency and keeping a close watch over every dollar we spend,” said Madsen, who beat out candidate Albert Zuniga to succeed Area 3 trustee Jim Volkinburg.
Volkinburg, who has served on the board since 1993, didn’t seek re-election.
“I will make sure we continue to be wise stewards of the funding we receive.” — Tiffany Madsen, Area 3 trustee-elect
Hatmaker, who unseated 25-year Area 1 incumbent Sandy Bengel Budd, said she will emphasize prudent management of finances.
“I have a particular fondness in reviewing budgets and financials, which my undergrad degree in accountancy from Fresno State as well as a being a business owner have prepared me to do,” Hatmaker said.
Hatmaker said she will work to continue the district’s focus on “stretching every dollar to its maximum.”
Managing Growth of Clovis Unified
The district continues to grow rapidly. Southeast Clovis is seeing the biggest growth, especially in the Loma Vista community. The area is more than halfway to its projected buildout of nearly 30,000 residents.
To accommodate the housing boom, the district opened Boris Elementary School two years ago at Clinton and Temperance avenues. The district is on track to open another elementary school in August 2020 at Locan and Shields avenues. It is one mile from Boris.
Additionally, the district is planning to build several more schools, including a new high school, middle school, and another elementary school further east.
Another Bond Measure?
Given the district’s plans, Madsen said that reaching out to various community groups to consider the potential need for a bond measure is necessary.
“Clovis Unified can do its best to anticipate and properly plan for growth by ensuring facilities are available and quality staff are prepared to serve students.” — Susan Hatmaker, Area 1 trustee-elect
For Hatmaker, managing the growth of the district means being ahead of the growth.
“Clovis Unified can do its best to anticipate and properly plan for growth by ensuring facilities are available and quality staff are prepared to serve students,” Hatmaker said.
With respect to a bond measure, Hatmaker said a studying the matter in great detail is critical.
“It is important to study the growth and potential capital needs in conjunction with the facility and staff needs before any decision on a bond measure can be made,” Hatmaker said.