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Reality Check: Clovis Unified does not operate on a shoe-string budget


Reality Check: Clovis Unified does not operate on a shoe-string budget

Clovis Unified is a school district so poor, it was forced to shell out more than $4,000 to advertise how poor it is.

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It’s time for someone at Clovis Unified to get a grip.

I imagine a few Sunday Bee subscribers were mildly amused by Clovis Unified School District’s full-page info-dump advertisement. The overwhelming majority probably kept flipping to find this week’s Target ad.

The advertisement, which was the newsprint equivalent of a statistics convention about the district’s performance, is a page ripped from Fresno Unified’s marketing playbook.

Amidst the glowing statistics – and, for now, there isn’t enough time to dwell on those – is a sentence that sticks out like a sore thumb: “High performance on a shoe-string budget.”

Yes, Clovis Unified is a school district so poor, it was forced to shell out more than $4,000 to advertise how poor it is.

The reality? Well, that’s a different story.

Clovis Unified’s fiscal year 2014-2015 budget targeted expenditures at $539 million. Yes, a half-billion dollars.

A shrewd taxpayer would ask: why are public schools spending *our* money to convince us that our schools are good?

That shrewd taxpayer would win the Golden Question Award and receive a nice lesson in the process.

Step outside of any home into Clovis Unified territory – start near Pinedale and head east across north Fresno through to the entire City of Clovis – and you’re bound to be confronted with a plethora of campaign signs for school board.

An entire slate of incumbent school board members (save for the exiting Richard Lake) are in the throes of one of the most contested elections in the district’s history.

And that has put Clovis Unified administrators on notice that a response is needed, regardless of the polls.

While the issues of the heated race have focused on the district’s cultural issues – starting with board decisions on the dress code and bathroom usage – there’s undoubtedly some curiosity about where CUSD tax dollars are going.

Sources close to Clovis Unified told CVObserver that trustees regularly skip diving into the district’s annual budget proposal, opting to peruse the district’s budget summary prior to approving nine-figure budgets.

It’s to be seen if they missed the line item that gave marketers carte blanche to bloviate Clovis’ Moneyball tactics into being “Penniless Unified School District.”


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Alex Tavlian

Alex Tavlian is the owner of Sultana Media. Views expressed reflect those of the author only. He can be reached at

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. SC

    October 29, 2016 at 7:58 pm

    I am sicken by the way the current CUSD Board is acting! They have posters stating that CUSD is #1 and when questioned about it, you are banned from their pages on Facebook. When questioned about the ‘campaigning’ with all the ads, you are banned. And the lies that they are telling about the people running against them is disgusting!! I know politics are nasty these days but I would expect that CUSD Board Members would show the proper example to the parents and students of CUSD. I would love to see some of their lies exposed prior to the election so people can see what they are really like!

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