Fresno Unified may change relationships with tutoring services

The Fresno BeeAugust 14, 2013 

Fresno Unified's superintendent says the district may change how it does business with tutoring services that cost about $6.5 million in federal funds last year.

Michael Hanson said Wednesday he plans to set new expectations for some contracted companies that were hired to give students extra math and English training but that haven't delivered on their promises in the past.

Last year, the district reported two businesses to the state that billed Fresno Unified for tutoring sessions that were never completed.

The No Child Left Behind school accountability law ties strings to how schools use certain federal funds -- including those that pay for tutoring. The district last year split a mandated 20% of its $44 million in federal Title I funding -- dollars intended for low-income student programs -- among 64 private tutoring companies.

But Fresno Unified and seven other California districts got relief from those mandates this month when the federal Department of Education granted them a waiver from certain NCLB requirements. Those districts now may redirect dollars once locked down in tutoring to other student services areas.

"This is the new game," Hanson said. "You have to be accountable as a company to deliver what you say you're going to. You don't get to hide anymore."

Hanson declined to name any companies that could lose contracts with the district.

The reporter can be reached at (559) 441-6412, hfurfaro@fresnobee.com or @hannahfurfaro on Twitter.

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