FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – Fresno’s top education leaders gathered Thursday to express support for legislation that supporters say will ensure the success of African American students.

If approved, AB 2774 would provide millions in resources for African American students, who represent California’s lowest performing subgroup of students. Funding and resources have improved outcomes of students in other categories, and proponents say similar recognition will help remedy longstanding problems.

The bill’s sponsor is Dr. Margaret Fortune, CEO of the Fortune School of Education.

“68% of Black kids in the state of California don’t read or write at grade level,” said Dr. Fortune. “79% don’t do mathematics at grade level.”

AB 2774 recognizes African American students are the lowest-performing subgroup in California and adjusts funding and resources to remedy the gap.

“We focused on those three categories of students: foster, homeless and disadvantaged and we saw what an impact-focused resources made on those students,” said Fresno County Board of Education trustee Dr. Marcy Masumoto.

AB 2774 already has seemingly unanimous bipartisan support from state lawmakers and the gathered educators are now directing their appeal to one particular person.

Fresno County Superintendent of Schools Jim Yovino and Central Unified Superintendent Ketti Davis both urge Gov. Gavin Newsom to sign the bill.

If approved, AB 2774 will provide more than $19 million for Fresno County public schools for 2,967 students not currently receiving funding – and $400 million per year across the state in additional funding.