The Fresno Unified School District is laying out what it plans to do if voters next month approve Measure X, a $225-million dollar measure.

The biggest single chunk, $90-million dollars, would go to constructing more classroom space and a new elementary school in Southeast Fresno. It’s part of an effort to reduce the roughly 1,000 portable classrooms still in use.

$25 million would be used to expand the district’s career and technical education, and another $50 million would go towards arts and athletic facilities like music rooms and gyms.

Valley Public Radio

This week on Valley Edition we look how local residents growing up in neighborhoods filled with violence are dealing with "toxic stress" - a condition often compared to PTSD. We also learn how large wide-body air tankers are changing the fight against wildfires, and hear from Dr. Dana Suskind, who talks about the 30 million word gap and what it means for early childhood development. Later in the show we get a preview of the new season of the San Joaquin Valley Town Hall Lecture Series, which features Dr. Michio Kaku, Leon Panetta and Dave Barry.

30 Million Words Initiative

Back in the 1990’s researchers discovered something that has wide ranging impacts to anyone interested in early childhood development. Children who grow up in families struggling with poverty hear 30 million fewer words by age 3 than those who grow up in more affluent homes.

Schools in the Fresno area recently ranked among the top 50 in the nation when it comes to economic segregation. That’s according to a new report from the national group EdBuild, a school reform organization that advocates changing the way schools are funded, and supports redrawing school district boundary lines.

Cradle to Career

Over two dozen non-profit groups and local governments, from school districts to local hospitals have pooled their attention and resources together as part of a new effort - the Cradle to Career partnership. It links efforts from early childhood education to jobs readiness and efforts to keep kids out of the criminal justice system. A key part of the effort is the on-going tracking of data in eight key categories - from kindergarten readiness to health.

Kern High School District

It’s back to school season, and that means there’s a lot of news right now about local school districts. None more so than the Kern High School District, which serves more than 35,000 students in Kern County. Harold Pierce of the Bakersfield Californian joined us on Valley Edition to give us a recap of the latest news around KHSD.

Plenary Properties Merced / UC Merced

The community is getting its first look today at the newly unveiled plans for a $1.1 billion expansion of UC Merced. The campus has selected the partnership of Plenary Properties Merced to design, build and operate the facility, which will allow the campus to expand to 10,000 students by the year 2020.

The proposal includes a private investment of $386 million, which is in addition to $600 million in revenue bonds already approved by UC Regents.

Kerry Klein/KVPR

Some Valley residents may remember Measure E, a bond passed in 2002 that funded repairs and improvements at community colleges in Fresno, Madera, Kings and Tulare Counties. Now, 14 years later, the community college district is asking for money—on an even bigger ballot measure.

Fresno State

A popular Fresno State professor is the subject of a blistering audit from the California State University, including conflict of interest allegations. 

Professor Tim Stearns teaches students at the Lyles Center For Innovation and Entrepreneurship how to start their own businesses. But it’s Stearns own business interests that ran afoul of the CSU Chancellor’s Office. The audit accuses Stearns of hiring a business partner to work as a consultant for the center, and using university resources to benefit his own company.

Kerry Klein

It’s Sunday morning in downtown Fresno, and a classroom full of 10-year olds is about to meet an important visitor: a 2-foot-tall, red and white robot.

“Hello, my name is NAO,” says the robot, standing up on a table.

He looks like a mix between a Transformer and a Power Ranger: big head, square shoulders, and what looks like thick gloves and boots. He can wave his arms, walk, dance, and blink his eyes—just like a tiny human.

“I can recognize your face, answer questions, and even play soccer like a pro,” he continues.