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October 15, 2010 > City Council and FUSD School Board meeting highlights

City Council and FUSD School Board meeting highlights

By Miriam G. Mazliach

The following is a summary from the joint meeting held on October 4, between the Fremont City Council and the Fremont Unified School District Board.

Superintendent of Schools, Dr. James Morris stated that Assistant Superintendent of Business, Bill Stephens will be retiring, from his position, at the end of the calendar year (December 31).

Mayor Bob Wasserman reported that for only the second time in Fremont's history, an officer had been injured in the line of duty. The motorcycle officer had been in pursuit of a stolen vehicle. He underwent surgery and was expected to recover.

During Oral Communications, Karen High, a member of the public, commented about environmental and quality of life concerns over the planned Patterson Ranch development.

Fremont Planning Director, Jeff Schwob and staff, gave an update on the Warm Springs/General Plan. There has been an ongoing public outreach effort, which was kicked off at the Celebrate Fremont event. Neighborhood meetings have been held, online surveys are available, mailing lists were compiled and extensive public input has generated information. Additionally, technical studies such as those on industrial land use, retail space and demographics, are proceeding. (When NUMMI closed, the Planning Department, applied for a $330,000 Federal grant to study the best ways to develop the area.)

The General Plan 2030 has developed a vision statement: "Fremont will serve as a national model on how an auto-oriented suburb can evolve into a sustainable, strategically urban city." A graphically rich "coffee table vision book," of the General Plan, is being printed and will be available by the end of October/beginning of November.

On November 6, a public workshop will be held, from 9 a.m. - 12:30 p.m., to be followed by neighborhood meetings with residents on what they envision for the future of the region.

When School Board Trustee, Ivy Wu inquired if schools could be considered a redevelopment project, City Attorney, Harvey Levine, indicated that he would look into the matter.

Fremont Fire Chief, Bruce Martin discussed the "Great Shake-out," a statewide Earthquake Preparedness Drill planned for October 21. In Fremont, city personnel and schools will practice the techniques of "drop, cover and hold on." Furthermore, according to Gene Wheatley, Maintenance Manager at FUSD, Mission San Jose High School and Robertson Continuation School will both participate in evacuation scenarios.

Superintendent Morris gave a school enrollment update. "There are spots of over-enrollment at Forest Park, Ardenwood, Warm Springs and Parkmont elementary schools.

Regarding FUSD's recent Academic Performance Index (API) Morris stated, "The trajectory of scores in our school district continues a pattern of improvement overall, although some groups of students are under-performing."

He further elaborated that In Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP), Fremont students perform higher than the set target number and in ACT and SAT test score results, outperform the state and national averages.

"Despite the loss of money and the budget hit, our students are still succeeding," said Morris.

The school district is looking into environmentally-friendly "green" efforts and other ways to assist our students with leading healthier lives. Ideas discussed were encouraging better food choices at school, starting school-community gardens, and developing partnerships with "green" organizations, such as StopWaste.org.

The Human Services Department's Youth and Family Services Counseling Program presented an overview of their successful "Healthy Choices" school site counseling services which are provided at 21 school campuses in Fremont. Students who are dealing with psychological, emotional and health issues are counseled by trained professionals and case managers to help them and their families deal with their issues.

An additional meeting by the Fremont Unified School District Board was held after the earlier Council session ended.

During time reserved for open public comment, a large contingent of district employees from CSEA 204, came to voice their discontent to the School Board and Staff, over the tactics that have drawn out their contract negotiations.

Kim Cantacessi, a CSEA member remarked, "We gave extra last year, above and beyond and were told it was irrelevant. Our people are tired, frustrated and have been bullied."

In other agenda business, the School Board voted 5-0 to ratify the SEIU 1021 contract with no changes.

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