News about Education

Clovis Unified

Floyd Buchanan, the man who built the Clovis Unified School District into an educational powerhouse has died at age 91. FM89's Joe Moore reports his work not only helped shape thousands of young lives, but also both the cities of Fresno and Clovis.

Known by many as "Doc" - Floyd Buchanan was a charismatic and visionary leader. The first superintendent of Clovis Unified, he saw the district grow dramatically during his tenure from 1960 to 1991. 

Buchanan emphasized both academics and athletics, but regardless of the venue his personality set a tone for the district. 

Eric Paul Zamora / The Fresno Bee

There’s a controversy brewing in Fresno that has school districts up and down the state watching very closely. It all has to do with how districts spend taxpayer money when they build a new school. Traditionally districts would build up reserves or bond money for a new school, and then put the project out to bid for design and construction. The lowest bidder typically would get the job.

Fresno Unified Website

The superintendent of the Fresno Unified School District says their use of a procedure known as lease-leaseback to build new schools is legal.

The district has come under fire for selecting a local construction firm, Harris Construction, to build the $37 million Gaston Middle School without going through a competitive bidding process.

Harris was chosen through a process known as Lease-leaseback where the district can hand pick a company who agrees to front the construction cost and then be paid back over time.

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

 A new bill in the California Senate could make sex education mandatory for middle and high school students. FM89’s Diana Aguilera reports.

If the bill becomes law, students will be required to learn about abstinence, sexually transmitted infections and contraception.

Right now, public schools throughout the state aren’t required to offer sex ed classes, but they are required to teach HIV and AIDS prevention. In recent years, Fresno Unified dropped its sex ed program due to budget cuts.

Diana Aguilera / Valley Public Radio

Parents often wonder how they can get their children to read and at the same time have their kids enjoy doing so. As FM89’s Diana Aguilera reports, one library in Clovis is inspiring children to open up books with the help of a four legged friend.

“So who’s going to read first today? This is Atlas,” says Mary Catalano.

Catalano is at the Clovis Regional Library with her yellow Labrador named Atlas. The nine-year-old dog is laying on the ground surrounded by kids. 

Lance Johnson / Licensed under Creative Commons from Flickr user LanceJohnson

Talk to most education leaders about the biggest challenges and opportunities in America’s public schools and the issue of so called STEM courses is sure to come up. It’s a fancy acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. According to the US Department of Education, job growth in STEM fields is projected to outpace the rest of the economy, in some areas like software and biomedicine, by more than double.

President Obama says STEM is a big education priority, in a speech to education leaders in 2010:

"Redskins" Bill Advances In California Legislature

Jun 17, 2015
Tulare Union High School website

Sports teams using the nickname “Redskins” are coming under increased pressure nationally to abandon the name. As Ben Adler reports from Sacramento, a bill at the state Capitol would make California the first state to ban public schools from using “Redskins” as their nickname or mascot.

The NFL’s Washington Redskins are the most prominent sports team with the nickname that Native Americans say is offensive. But they’re not alone. Public schools in many states have Redskins mascots. All face growing pressure to change their names.

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

School districts across the valley are trying to figure out what to do with new money intended to help their most vulnerable students. But a letter from the State Department of Education raises questions about whether some of their spending on things like teacher raises is allowed. The interpretations of the new funding formula vary, based on who you ask.

The special funding, known as supplemental and concentration funds, is a big funding boost for schools to help the neediest kids, such as poor students, non-English speakers, and foster kids.

An agreement has been reached between the Clovis Unified School District and a Native American student who wanted to wear an eagle feather at his graduation this week.

Clovis High senior Christian Titman, a member of the Pit River Tribe, says he wanted to wear the feather on his graduation cap in honor of his heritage and religion. But after several requests, the school district banned him from doing so, saying it violated the district's graduation dress code.

City of Clovis

UPDATE: The Fresno County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to move forward with the new Clovis library project.

The city of Clovis is known for its rodeo and its western themed downtown. Soon you might be able to add to that one of the largest public libraries in the valley. 

A new library, senior center and transit hub are all part of the plan for 5.7 acres on the fringe of downtown Clovis. Last year the city purchased the site on Third Street, which is currently home to an old lumber company barn for $2.85 million.