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Fresno Unified allocates millions to prepare for looming strike

Fresno Unified School District, at its Wednesday school board meeting, allocated more than $3 million in preparation for a possible teachers strike, The Fresno Bee reported.

Also on Wednesday, thousands of educators – a part of the Fresno Teachers Association – started voting on whether to strike; voting could continue until Monday.

The school district has already pledged to pay substitute teachers $500 a day if a strike happens. The $3 million allocation will fund health services, school supplies and security.

More specifically, according to The Bee, the millions are split into four different categories: $2 million for curriculum, $410,000 for substitute hiring and orientation services, $451,000 for health services and $176,000 for security, totaling $3,037,000.

“Know that we intend to keep our schools open, safe and fully available for learning with relevant and on-grade level curriculum prepared and ready to go for all classrooms,” Superintendent Bob Nelson told the media during an Oct. 13 negotiation update.

The substitute hiring and orientation services are not for substitute teachers’ daily wages but the costs for their recruitment and processing into the district, district spokesperson Nikki Henry told The Bee. The daily substitute pay will balance out costs to the district because the district won’t be paying teachers while they are on strike; many Fresno Unified teachers average daily pay is $490.

The district now has over 2,100 substitute teachers who are credentialed, qualified, fingerprinted, background-checked and “ready to go” if a strike happens, Nelson said last week. Another 150 to 200 are going through background checks, the district informed The Bee.

The school district will also hire personnel for student healthcare services as needed, The Bee reported. Because the union represents over 4,000 teachers, nurses, social workers and other professionals, nurses could also strike.

During a strike, there will likely be picketing lines of striking educators at places where students are picked up and dropped off, Nelson said last week.

“We know it can be hard to walk through an active picket line,” Nelson said, “but there is extra security at all of our campuses to ensure everyone is safe and free of intimidation on all parties and on all fronts.”


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