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How Many Teachers Might Lose Jobs in FUSD's Big Budget Cuts?
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By Nancy Price, Multimedia Journalist
Published 1 month ago on
March 5, 2024

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Fresno Unified trustees will get their first look Wednesday at budget proposals to counter a $30 million funding shortfall.

The district may have to lay off teachers and other school staffers because of declining enrollments and low student daily attendance.

The board’s final budget vote won’t come until June.


The Fresno Unified School Board on Wednesday will consider trimming nonteaching school staffers and teaching programs next year to save nearly $7.5 million, the first steps in closing a looming budget deficit.

In December the trustees were warned that the district is facing a $38 million deficit in the next school year unless cuts are made. The deficit is now estimated at $30 million.

That came less than two months after the district signed a new three-year contract with teachers providing 16% in ongoing raises over three years, plus one-time bonuses of 2.5% in the second and third years.

At that time Superintendent Bob Nelson had warned that the district would need to make budget cuts over the next two years to offset the costs of the employee pay boosts and benefits that apply to all district employees under “me too” provisions in union contracts.

According to the budget presentation in Wednesday’s agenda, the district will need to trim about $30 million to balance next year’s budget. The district expects enrollments to drop next year by 1,100, the cost-of-living adjustment to decline from 3.94% to 0.76%, and remaining federal and state pandemic recovery funding to be depleted.

Meanwhile, the district continues to struggle with chronic absenteeism and lower average daily attendance, from 94.5% before the pandemic to 92% today.

At a workshop last week, the board learned that the district could regain $25 million in state financial support by boosting daily attendance rates.

The School Board meeting is scheduled to begin at 6:45 p.m. Wednesday in the downtown Education Center.

Moving Teachers

The proposals included moving teachers from special assignments back into classrooms to lower class sizes and also cutting 53.2 full-time equivalent teaching jobs because of declining enrollments.

Two forecasts show enrollments continuing to drop through the 2029-30 school year, possibly dipping under 58,000 students. This year’s enrollment is 68,363. In 2019 the enrollment was 74,000 students.

Wednesday’s agenda includes two proposed staffing and program cuts that would save about $7.5 million. The board will be asked to consider adopting a resolution for a “reduction in force” for permanent non-teaching school staffers known as “classified” employees. The number of employees was not identified in the resolution, but the amount of the savings was set at $3.5 million.

The district is required by state law to issue “reduction in force” notices by this month, putting employees on notice that jobs might be eliminated.

That’s happening now across California, where districts are having to make hard decisions in the face of tough financial times and declining enrollments. San Francisco Unified, faced with big enrollment drops, is debating closing whole schools, according to Bay Area news reports.

The second budget-cutting resolution the trustees will consider Wednesday would be to discontinue “particular kinds of certificated services” next year, for a savings of nearly $4 million. District officials did not immediately respond Tuesday to a query seeking more information about which services will be cut. Teachers and other educators are “certificated” employees because of their teaching certificates.

In addition to staff cuts, the district is proposing saving $11.6 million by “uncommitting” money in the K-6 History textbook reserve.

The board’s final vote on the budget will come in June.

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Nancy Price,
Multimedia Journalist
Nancy Price is a multimedia journalist for GV Wire. A longtime reporter and editor who has worked for newspapers in California, Florida, Alaska, Illinois and Kansas, Nancy joined GV Wire in July 2019. She previously worked as an assistant metro editor for 13 years at The Fresno Bee. Nancy earned her bachelor's and master's degrees in journalism at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. Her hobbies include singing with the Fresno Master Chorale and volunteering with Fresno Filmworks. You can reach Nancy at 559-492-4087 or Send an Email

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