Hurricane "Sandy" left much of the east coast in shambles. Here in Fresno, the storm is renewing hope.
For the fourth year in a row it looked like Fresno Unified would be missing out on almost $40 million from the federal "Race to the Top" program. Since "Sandy" hit the east coast, the deadline to complete the application is being extended.
The reason for missing the original deadline remains the same. The Fresno Teachers Association still does not approve of the mandatory evaluations required to secure the funding.
Today, Mayor Ashley Swearengin, City Councilmen Blong Xiong and Oliver Barnes stood in front of City Hall, calling on teachers to approve the application. Some of Fresno's leading children's groups released statements with similar sentiments.
Fresno Unified superintendent Michael Hanson said he understands the teachers' concerns. He agrees that federal testing methods are unfair and misleading.
Within the grant application there is some room to maneuver with the mandatory oversight. However there appears to be a division within the teachers union itself.
Eva Ruiz was recently elected president, but only by a vote of 453-451. Many teachers are unhappy with the way she's handled the "Race to the Top" negotiations.
Hanson said he would resume talks with the union as soon as the election results were final. That happened Tuesday afternoon. The new deadline for the grant application has not been released yet.