Fresno: Education and Research

Elementary and Secondary Schools

The Fresno Unified School District is the fourth largest in California, with a 2004 budget of $869 million. A five-member, nonpartisan board of education hires a superintendent. Overall the district has underperformed due to a wide variety of problems including financial woes, mismanagement, and a highly diverse student population with large numbers of immigrant and non-English-speaking students, many of whom are impoverished. In 2005 more than 50 percent of the district's schools were scoring in the bottom 10 percent in California and the district as a whole was at the risk of a state takeover.

The following is a summary of data regarding the Fresno Unified School District as of the 2003–2004 school year.

Total enrollment: 80,421

Number of facilities

elementary schools: 61

junior high schools: 19

senior high schools: 8

Student/teacher ratio: 20.6:1

Teacher salaries minimum: $34,326

maximum: $61,100

Funding per student: $8,351

Additionally there are 15 private schools serving K-12 students in Fresno, including several Catholic elementary and high schools, other Christian and religious schools, and secular private institutions.

Colleges and Universities

California State University at Fresno (commonly known as Fresno State), part of the 23 campus California State University system, is a four-year accredited university offering doctoral, graduate, and undergraduate degrees in about 100 fields to its more than 22,000 students. With 26 nationally accredited departmental programs, Fresno State is the largest post-secondary institution in the city and sits on a 327 acre campus and adjacent to a 1,083 acre University Farm in the northeast section of Fresno. Fresno City College is a 2-year community college with more than 21,000 students. California's oldest community college, Fresno City College offers Associate's degrees in more than 100 disciplines. Many are designed to transfer to four-year institutions. The University of California San Francisco School of Medicine operates a branch in Fresno that provides medical internship and residency training. Nearly two dozen other schools, including private colleges and universities, law schools, technical schools, and professional graduate schools operate in Fresno County.

Libraries and Research Centers

The Fresno County Public Library has a main library and 34 branches throughout the Fresno area. The system further links to the San Joaquin Valley Library system, a cooperative network of nine public library systems with shared information databases across six counties in the Central Valley. In addition to more than 1.1 million volumes, the Fresno County Library also offers nearly 2,000 periodical subscriptions, 1 million government publications, 47,000 video materials, and 87,000 audio materials. There are special services for the handicapped and visually impaired, as well as special collections on the Japanese and Hmong languages, Pulitzer Prizewinning author and Fresno native William Saroyan, oral history, and holdings of the Fresno Genealogical Society. Research activities in such fields as agriculture, forestry, irrigation, viticulture and enology, and information processing are conducted at centers in the Fresno area.

Public Library Information: Fresno County Public Library, 2420 Mariposa Street, Fresno, CA 93721-2285; telephone (559)488-3195