michael hanson

Jeffrey Hess / Valley Public Radio

Pressure on the Fresno Unified School District's superintendent continues to mount. Valley Public Radio's Jeffrey Hess reports the Fresno Teacher's Association is calling for three top district employees to be put on leave pending a federal investigation.

The FTA says the investigation into the district's use of no-bid contracts has overshadowed administrators ability to run the district.

File Photo

The head of the Fresno Unified School District is coming under fire after claims that he instructed his staff use a cell phone app that sends messages without leaving any trace. That practice could raise ethical and legal problems for district superintendent Michael Hanson.

Journalist Mark Arax was the first to report that Hanson allegedly used the Cyber Dust app which claims it leaves no record of any of the messages sent or received.

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.

This week on Valley Edition  we focus on education, the environment and agriculture. Host Joe Moore speaks with Fresno Unified Superintendent Michael Hanson about what the Obama administration’s decision to give the district a waiver from the No Child Left Behind Act will mean for district students.

FUSD

A day after the U.S. Department of Education gave eight of California's largest school districts a waiver from provisions of the No Child Left Behind Act, Fresno Unified Superintendent Michael Hanson praised the decision, saying it will improve accountability and student performance, and "allows us to do work very differently." 

The districts, which include Sanger Unified and Fresno Unified, are all members of a coalition called the California Office to Reform Education or CORE.

Segment I Nuclear Power In the Valley? - The State of California has a long love-hate relationship with nuclear power. It's now been 26 years since Diablo Canyon, the state's newest nuclear power plant, came online on the Central Coast. In the intervening years, reactors at Rancho Seco, near Sacramento, and San Onofre near San Diego have been decommissioned, and the state's moratorium on the construction of new plants still remains in effect.

Segments 1 & 2: Mark Arax - Journalist and author Mark Arax has spent much of his career exposing the dark secrets of life in the Central Valley, from corrupt politicians to secretive land barons. A former senior writer with the LA Times, Arax joins us on this edition of Valley Public Radio’s Quality of Life, to talk about his books, the Valley, and the troubled Fresno Unified School District.