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April 17, 2012 > Fremont Unified School District (FUSD) Board meeting report

Fremont Unified School District (FUSD) Board meeting report

By Miriam G. Mazliach

The following are highlights from the Fremont Unified School District (FUSD) Board meeting held March 28, 2012.

Oral Communications/Public Comment Non-Agenda Items:
Changes are being proposed for the district's Opportunity Program for "at risk" 7th and 8th graders, who have not had success in the traditional school environment. Brannin Dorsey, President of the Fremont Unified District Teachers' Association, stated that the teachers had not been informed in advance.

Several teachers and a school psychologist spoke on the necessity of continuing the program as it is a place for students who feel they can't fit elsewhere. These students do well in a smaller, safer and calmer learning environment, with attention from dedicated teachers. Jim Nation, who has taught in the Opportunity Program for 22 years, addressed the Board saying, "Not every child can thrive in the traditional setting."

Agenda Item - Revised Board Policy on Student Bullying:
Director of Pupil Services, Rickey Jones, stated that staff has re-written and updated the definitions on student bullying and cyber-bullying and revised a bullying complaint form.

Trustee Larry Sweeney commented on considering the needs of the victim [in this revised policy] to make them feel whole, besides the disciplinary action toward the bullies. Motion to accept this first reading of the new Board Policy was unanimously passed.

Agenda Item - New Board Policy on Search & Seizure:
Following the trend of other school districts, such as Newark and Pleasanton, who have recently approved the use of police dogs on campus to deter drug use, FUSD is also pursuing this tactic.

Police Sgt. Jim Koepf attended the School Board meeting. The proposed plan recommends two unannounced searches per school year, by the police dogs. The motion to accept the first reading of the Search and Seizure Regulation was passed unanimously.

Agenda Item - Revenue Enhancements & Budget Reductions:
Assistant Superintendent of Business, Micaela Ochoa, discussed some preliminary ideas to help combat the anticipated $30.6 million deficit so far. Suggested options were to charge outside groups more for use of school facilities, additional furlough days by management, class size reduction, etc. Further input will be gathered and an updated list will be presented to the Board with recommendations at the April 25 meeting. Final decisions need to be made by May 23. Trustee Ivy Wu scheduled a "call to action" meeting for April 17 at the District office.

Agenda Item - Transportation Department:
FUSD is still one of the few remaining districts offering home to school bus service but is considering eliminating all regular education bus service. Nevertheless, the District is still required by law to continue providing transportation for its Special Education students.

Scott Cantacessi, President of SEIU 1021 (Service Employees International Union) stated, "Polling data suggests that the tax initiative will pass. Don't make the decision [to cut transportation services] this year. Make it next spring!"

Preliminary recommendations will be discussed at the April 25 Board meeting.

Agenda Item - Child Nutrition Services:
A discussion of Cooks/Bakers housed in one central location is an option being considered.

Facilities Needs Assessment:
Based on the assessment of the District's school facilities, conducted by WLC Architects/MGT America, $568 million would be necessary to repair or update all of the various school sites. The proposed Facilities Bond, would not cover the entire amount needed; the next step is to rank, prioritize and seek public input.

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