State Senate education leader tours Heaton Elementary in Fresno

The Fresno BeeOctober 15, 2013 

A state senator from Southern California toured Fresno Unified's Heaton Elementary School on Tuesday as part of a statewide bus tour aimed at promoting community school partnerships and early childhood education.

Senate Education Committee chair Sen. Carol Liu, D-La Canada-Flintridge, met with local education officials to talk about poverty in Fresno and how local agencies are making sure children from low-income families get access to pre-kindergarten.

She said she's concerned the federal government shutdown and other cuts could threaten the sustainability of certain early learning options.

"We need to do better with these little kids," she said. "We can't just pull a chain every time we don't have funding, so we need to think long-term about some of these issues."

School administrators and officials from First 5 Fresno County and other community groups attended the morning event.

Fresno Unified Superintendent Michael Hanson said the district is working to enroll traditionally under-served children in pre-kindergarten. Last year the district spent $7.4 million in Proposition 30 dollars to add about 1,000 preschool seats at 59 schools.

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