Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
Career Technical Ed, Pre-K Could Be Hardest Hit in Budget Cuts
gvw_edward_smith
By Edward Smith
Published 1 month ago on
April 15, 2024

Career technical education may be among the first educational departments affected by budget cuts. CTE relies largely on grants to buy expensive materials and equipment. (GV Wire Composite/Paul Marshall)

Share

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

California legislators this week are discussing how to deal with a $78 billion deficit statewide. For educators already anticipating funding cuts, they are preparing to do cuts of their own — something they haven’t needed to do in a decade.

At Fresno Unified, officials are looking at how to prepare for a reduced budget without cutting staff. Gov. Gavin Newsom and financial analysts both have put educational grant funding on the chopping block.

For the growing and expensive career technical education field, as well as transitional kindergarten — a program still in its infancy — cuts could hit those programs first.

Return on Investment for CTE Is Big: Henry

Teaching welding, automotive technology, and heavy truck technology is not cheap. Educators need expensive equipment to teach and districts often rely on grants to fund those purchases.

Nikki Henry, chief communications officer with Fresno Unified, said the district is “second to none” when it comes to getting those grants. Even considering cost, Henry said the district wanted to see more growth in that area because the return on investment is seen very quickly, Henry said.

But it’s those grants that legislators are looking at to make up for the budget challenges.

In addition, Newsom has to deal with lower-than-anticipated revenue in the 2022-23 fiscal year budget. Because of flooding during the wet year, the IRS allowed individuals to file taxes late. The state eventually learned that because of migration out of California and a stunted stock market, state revenues came in $8 billion less than expected.

To make up for that shortfall, the Legislative Analyst’s Office suggested canceling $300 million in unawarded CTE grants to schools. Those grants are highly competitive, according to the LAO.

At a recent Fresno Chamber of Commerce’s Government Affairs meeting, member Bill Robinson of Sol Development said how important CTE is. He helps teach some programs at Duncan Polytechnical High School. He mentioned that the career-technical focused school had once run out of lumber.

Governor’s Transitional Kindergarten Program in Budget Crosshairs

In 2021, Newsom came to Fresno to highlight his goal of expanding access to early childhood learning — called transitional kindergarten. Newsom said getting kids as young as 3 three years old into school not only helps educational achievement, but can provide child care for working parents.

And, Fresno Unified Superintendent Bob Nelson has said that TK was integral in improving lagging literacy rates in the district.

The goal was to have it rolled out by the 2025-26 school year. As with CTE funding, lawmakers are eyeing gutting TK funding. One of the options legislators considered this week was delaying $550 million in facility grants for kindergarten and TK classrooms, according to Ken Kapphahn, principal fiscal and policy analyst with the LAO.

Fresno Unified has been ahead of that rollout, Henry said. Budget cuts for TK may not affect the district now, but it could have a longer-term consequence.

Adapting existing facilities is not ideal for 3- and 4-year-old students, Henry said. Bathrooms need to be sized to accommodate youngsters.

“TK classrooms and pre-K classrooms you would ideally have designed specifically for those smaller learners,” Henry said.

But often they’ve been having to adapt portable classrooms.

In Fresno Unified, pre-K and TK enrollment has been low. Neither is mandatory. A lot of parents don’t know about these programs, and others are hesitant to sending such young children to school.

“We know that to have someone send you their 3- and 4-year-old, they better have a lot of trust in you,” Henry said.

Enrollment, Attendance on the Decline

Fresno Unified is facing more than financial decline. Since the pandemic, enrollment and daily attendance have floundered. Funding is determined by how many students are in seats every day. Following the pandemic, the state suspended that practice, giving leniency to students not at school.

The state has since rescinded that policy. The 2% decline in daily attendance compared to pre-pandemic levels will cost the district between $10 million and $20 million, depending on what the numbers will bear for the year, Henry said.

Parents are still holding students out of school for illnesses at high rates, possibly still out of concern about COVID, Henry said.

With the rise of remote learning, parents think it can be a substitute for being in the classroom, Henry said. More and more, parents are taking kids out for vacations.

Total enrollment at Fresno Unified has also been on the decline. Henry estimates the district loses about 1,000 students a year to parents leaving the area or going to other districts, Henry said.

They’re not at the point of having to shut down schools, yet, said Henry, but if they want to address the problem, they need to do so now.

“This is our warning call that we don’t want to get there,” Henry said.

 

RELATED TOPICS:

DON'T MISS

CA Senate Passes Hospital Seismic Compliance Bill: What’s the Impact on Local Hospitals?

DON'T MISS

Take This Memorial Day Quiz Before Warming up the Grill

DON'T MISS

Hate Wasting Money? Use These 7 Hacks to Feed Your Family for Less

DON'T MISS

NCAA and Leagues Back $2.8 Billion Settlement, Setting Stage for Current, Former Athletes to Be Paid

DON'T MISS

UC Berkeley Faces a Summer of Discontent as Gaza Protesters Remain Steadfast

DON'T MISS

Newsom Promised 1,200 Tiny Homes for Homeless Californians. How Many Are Being Used?

DON'T MISS

Fresno Unified Unveils 5-Year Literacy Plan. What Are the Expectations?

DON'T MISS

Man Sentenced to 25 Years for Teaching Bomb-Making to Person Targeting Authorities

DON'T MISS

UCLA Police Arrest Young Man for Alleged Felony Assault in Attack on Pro-Palestinian Encampment

DON'T MISS

UAW Files Objection to Mercedes Vote, Accuses Company of Intimidating Workers

UP NEXT

Take This Memorial Day Quiz Before Warming up the Grill

UP NEXT

Hate Wasting Money? Use These 7 Hacks to Feed Your Family for Less

UP NEXT

NCAA and Leagues Back $2.8 Billion Settlement, Setting Stage for Current, Former Athletes to Be Paid

UP NEXT

UC Berkeley Faces a Summer of Discontent as Gaza Protesters Remain Steadfast

UP NEXT

Newsom Promised 1,200 Tiny Homes for Homeless Californians. How Many Are Being Used?

UP NEXT

Fresno Unified Unveils 5-Year Literacy Plan. What Are the Expectations?

UP NEXT

Man Sentenced to 25 Years for Teaching Bomb-Making to Person Targeting Authorities

UP NEXT

UCLA Police Arrest Young Man for Alleged Felony Assault in Attack on Pro-Palestinian Encampment

UP NEXT

UAW Files Objection to Mercedes Vote, Accuses Company of Intimidating Workers

UP NEXT

Fresno County Fruit Trail: Rewards You Can Sink Your Teeth Into

Edward Smith,
Multimedia Journalist
Edward Smith began reporting for GV Wire in May 2023. His reporting career began at Fresno City College, graduating with an associate degree in journalism. After leaving school he spent the next six years with The Business Journal, doing research for the publication as well as covering the restaurant industry. Soon after, he took on real estate and agriculture beats, winning multiple awards at the local, state and national level. You can contact Edward at 559-440-8372 or at Edward.Smith@gvwire.com.

NCAA and Leagues Back $2.8 Billion Settlement, Setting Stage for Current, Former Athletes to Be Paid

17 hours ago

UC Berkeley Faces a Summer of Discontent as Gaza Protesters Remain Steadfast

17 hours ago

Newsom Promised 1,200 Tiny Homes for Homeless Californians. How Many Are Being Used?

18 hours ago

Fresno Unified Unveils 5-Year Literacy Plan. What Are the Expectations?

19 hours ago

Man Sentenced to 25 Years for Teaching Bomb-Making to Person Targeting Authorities

19 hours ago

UCLA Police Arrest Young Man for Alleged Felony Assault in Attack on Pro-Palestinian Encampment

19 hours ago

UAW Files Objection to Mercedes Vote, Accuses Company of Intimidating Workers

19 hours ago

Fresno County Fruit Trail: Rewards You Can Sink Your Teeth Into

19 hours ago

Rising Stars Tigirlily Gold Wows the Crowd at 93.7 KISS Country Concert

20 hours ago

Get Ready for the Indy 500 With This Look at Parnelli Jones, JC Agajanian & the Willard Battery Special

20 hours ago

CA Senate Passes Hospital Seismic Compliance Bill: What’s the Impact on Local Hospitals?

The California Senate has unanimously passed SB 1432, a bill introduced by Sen. Anna Caballero (D-Merced) to provide a transparent and accou...

3 hours ago

3 hours ago

CA Senate Passes Hospital Seismic Compliance Bill: What’s the Impact on Local Hospitals?

5 hours ago

Take This Memorial Day Quiz Before Warming up the Grill

5 hours ago

Hate Wasting Money? Use These 7 Hacks to Feed Your Family for Less

17 hours ago

NCAA and Leagues Back $2.8 Billion Settlement, Setting Stage for Current, Former Athletes to Be Paid

17 hours ago

UC Berkeley Faces a Summer of Discontent as Gaza Protesters Remain Steadfast

18 hours ago

Newsom Promised 1,200 Tiny Homes for Homeless Californians. How Many Are Being Used?

19 hours ago

Fresno Unified Unveils 5-Year Literacy Plan. What Are the Expectations?

19 hours ago

Man Sentenced to 25 Years for Teaching Bomb-Making to Person Targeting Authorities

MENU

CONNECT WITH US

Search

Send this to a friend