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Fremont Unified School District Board meeting report
By Miriam G. Mazliach
August 20, 2013
The following are highlights from the Fremont Unified School District (FUSD) Board meeting held on August 14, 2013.
Community Leadership/Superintendent’s Report:
The District approved a new Coordinator of Health Services, Cheryl Knight.
Oral Communications/Public Comment:
The American Swim Academy presented a check for $5,568 to Fremont Education Foundation (FEF) from a fundraiser held in May to mark the opening of the swim school’s Fremont location.
District parents Dennis and Ruth Carmichael addressed the Board regarding the District’s decision to change their children’s school attendance area. The Carmichaels stated that they had not been informed this could happen and do not want their children to attend other schools. Their son has been attending a Mission district elementary for five years and their young daughter is scheduled to begin kindergarten.
Agenda Item – Facilities Mitigation and Financing Options:
Superintendent James Morris explained that although it is great that Fremont has a burgeoning population, it is also problematic in that as school enrollment grows rapidly each year, the district’s schools are becoming more saturated. Morris stated that due to the improving economy, many housing developments are being built, but nevertheless, FUSD is still required to decrease class size by 24:1, over the next four years. “How do we mitigate the impact on the community?” he added.
For consideration, attorney Marilyn Cleveland of Dannis Wolliver presented a variety of options to be considered as the process goes forward. These ranged from possible increased developer fees, voluntary mitigation agreements by developers, special taxes, general obligation bonds (GOB), or even the Mello-Roos Facilities Act (which allows cities to approve of a bond measure on a potential area to be developed with a tax imposed later on those residents). More information will need to be gathered by the Board and Staff regarding the best option to pursue.
Agenda Item – Common Core:
The Common Core expenditure report on how the District has already spent funds, in the implementation of the new program, was received by the Board. Assistant Superintendent of Instruction, Deborah Sims and President of Fremont Unified District Teachers Association (FUDTA), Sherea Westra, have been working collaboratively to ensure a positive start to this new educational direction. “We’re excited to see where this will go,” said Westra.
Approved by the State Board of Education in March 2012, Common Core Standards is now being implemented and provides a fundamental shift in the approach to teaching and student learning. The standards are designed to be more rigorous yet reflect what is needed by students to learn real world skills.
In the Technology Readiness component, voted on and approved by Staff, funds received from the Common Core State Standards Fund and the General Fund will be used to lease and/or purchase 2,520 laptops and 72 charging carts. These are necessary in order to have students complete the required testing online, during the 2014-2015 school year, as outlined by Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium.
Other Agenda Items:
Approved, by a unanimous vote, the Ratification of the Agreement between FUSD and SEIU (Classified Employees’ Union).
Received the Annual Report from Fremont Adult School, as presented by Principal Steve Giudici and Vice Principal Gladys Kiefer.
“Our district is known for the Board’s commitment to Adult Education,” stated Supt. Morris. “We are very fortunate to have the leadership of Principal Giudici and Ms. Kiefer.”
Principal Giudici related that the Fremont Adult School served over 6,000 students last year, with a majority enrolled in the ESL (English as a Second Language) program. Other popular classes were High School GED (General Educational Development), Credit (grade/class) Recovery for high school students, Family Literacy and Adult Basic Education, to name but a few. “We provide an invaluable resource to the community and hold classes throughout the school year and have summer programs,” said Giudici.