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February 26, 2013 > Fremont Unified School District Board meeting report

Fremont Unified School District Board meeting report

By Miriam G. Mazliach

The following are highlights from the Fremont Unified School District Board meeting held on February 13, 2013.

Community Leadership/Superintendent's Report:
A festively attired group of young students from the Kindergarten, 1st and 2nd grade Mandarin Immersion classes at Azevada Elementary School, performed the song "Gong Xi, Gong Xi", in celebration of Chinese New Year. Azevada Principal, Carole Diamond, the students' teachers and parents were on hand to show their support.

Additionally, the six student winners of FUSD's 31st Annual Spelling Bee were introduced during the Board meeting. Competition between 51 students representing 26 elementary schools was held January 31. All participants received a medal, a mechanical pencil and a certificate. Students who earned first place through sixth place received a gift certificate and trophy. The first place winner's school, Parkmont Elementary, will take possession of the perpetual plaque and banner during the school year.

These are the winning students:
1st Place: Anish Punaroor, Parkmont Elementary School
2nd Place: Timothy Brahan, Weibel Elementary School
3rd Place: Irene Geng, Hirsch Elementary School
4th Place: Divya Koya, Millard Elementary School
5th Place: Sahir Qureshi, Niles Elementary School
6th Place: Ruhani Kapoor, Mission Valley Elementary School

These six students will compete in the Alameda County Spelling Bee Saturday, March 16 at Cull Canyon Middle School in Castro Valley.

In other matters:
Superintendent James Morris reported that the district held its first Safety Committee Meeting. "It was wonderful and productive to work on a comprehensive safety plan for our schools and students," he stated.

Morris encouraged the community to tune in to Comcast Channel 26 on Monday evenings, at 7 p.m. to view "Community Conversations" featuring school happenings from around the school district and issues of interest to parents, teachers and students.

Oral Communications/Public Comments:
Sarah Brennan, an SEIU union member, who works in Child Nutrition Services, stated that there is disorganization in the department. She explained that it is difficult to cook student meals in a timely fashion, as the warehouse is usually out of product or required food items, recipes are not received in time, and there is an inadequate supply of food containers on hand. She added that the disarray has caused cooks and bakers to be on edge and that food is arriving late for distribution to schools.

Henry Hutchins, Vice President, Guy Emanuele Sports Fund, at the Fremont Education Foundation (FEF) detailed that over $10,000 in grants has been given to high school students to help them participate in school sports. In addition, $7,500 has been donated in total to the Junior High Schools for their sports programs ($1,500 each) and elementary schools received $7,200 for their basketball league. Also, referring to another FEF-supported program, Hutchins noted that currently there are 1,200 students participating in the After School Band Program.

Brannin Dorsey, President of FUDTA (Fremont Unified District Teachers Association), decried the lack of substitute teachers in the district, which she feels is putting an undue strain on the teaching staff. She stated that a grievance has been filed against the district. "I shouldn't have to come to the district and beg to fix this," she said.

Agenda Item - Parcel Tax Consulting Services:
Peggy Herndon, who served on the Measure K Parcel Tax committee, spoke in support of contracting for an outside consultant. "We have to give the County information on the parcels that are to be taxed, not only those which are exempted. We need the consultant to handle all the rules and minutiae, to ensure we're getting the money the district is entitled to."

Agenda Item - Installation of Peepholes:
In order to make safety precautions uniform throughout the district, it is recommended that peepholes (door viewers) be installed in all classroom doors as an added security measure. Previously, as part of the 2002 Health and Safety Bond, classrooms throughout the district had hardware installed to allow all classroom doors to be locked from the inside.

As the district only has 1-1/2 carpenters on staff, the project needs to be contracted out in order to get this rather large job done quickly and in a cost effective manner. The motion was approved unanimously, although SEIU will be contacted for their input.

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