Nonprofit Newswire | Fresno School Plans Nonprofit, Circumvents Union

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January 26, 2010; Fresno Bee | According to the Fresno Bee, the plan of the Fresno Unified School District to establish its own nonprofit to then open a charter school is a new phenomenon in the state. The district’s plan is to open a K-5 charter to prepare pupils for International Baccalaureate programs through a new nonprofit called Fresno Innovative Charter Schools. The board would include the FUSD superintendent (or his stand-in), two other members from the District’s board of trustees, and two parents. The union is a bit confused, asking why the FUSD has to create a separate nonprofit and whether this “independent organization” isn’t really independent with the FUSD superintendent on the board. According to the Bee, teachers are “furious” about the idea, especially since the charter school plan would basically preclude the participation of unionized teachers. Many government agencies create nonprofits to give them additional flexibility to do things that government strictures preclude, but using a nonprofit to circumvent union protections is not a good precedent, especially since it could easily turn pernicious.—Rick Cohen