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October 2, 2012 > Fremont Unified School District Board meeting report

Fremont Unified School District Board meeting report

By Miriam G. Mazliach, Photo courtesy of Bob Lee

The following are highlights from the Fremont Unified School District (FUSD) Board meeting held September 12, 2012.

Superintendent's Report:
During introductory remarks, Dr James Morris, Fremont Superintendent of Schools, Dr. James Morris, noted the district's new Assistant Superintendent of Business, Raul Parungao.

The following is a brief bio on Mr. Parungao, as provided by Bob Lee, Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources:
Raul Parungao recently served as the Chief Business Official for the Redwood City School District for the last six years. Prior to this position, he served as the Director of Fiscal Services for the Newark Unified School District for three years. Parungao received his School Business Management Certificate from the University of Southern California and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a Major in Accounting from Manuel S. Enverga University. Raul resides in Fremont and has a child who attended the Fremont School District. Parungao officially started his duties at Fremont Unified School District on September 4. He will serve on the Superintendent's cabinet and be responsible for all Business Services Operations.

Also, Superintendent Morris:
Commended the district's teachers, staff and students, after visiting various school sites during the first day of school.

Reported that over 1, 968 student volunteer hours were donated to the Tri-City Volunteers organization, during the summer.

Mentioned that Fremont students' artwork represented nine of the twelve months' illustrations, selected for inclusion in the Alameda County Water District's calendar.

Discussed a variety of anti-bullying materials, available to students, teachers and staff.

Stated that four TV monitors had been donated to the district and are situated in the district's boardroom to broadcast and view School Board meetings.

Held up an old worn out drainpipe found at a school, to demonstrate the need for facilities' improvements at some school sites.

Consent Calendar:
Discussed one of the items in Student Learning & Achievement, regarding the cost of fees for coaching of Common Core Standards.

The Common Core State Standards Initiative is an effort to ensure that there are clear and established educational standards in the areas of English language arts and mathematics that each state can adopt and follow.

Dr. Morris stated, "The new assessment is coming and we're trying to get ahead of the curve."

Trustee Larry Sweeney commented, "Common Core was put on us. It's costing us money. We have to spend $600,000 on professional development. It's another unfunded mandate."

Oral Communications/Public Comments:
A number of parents spoke out against "combo classes," wherein two different grade levels are housed in the same classroom and taught by one teacher.

In particular, teachers and parents at Niles Elementary were upset that after the school year had began, students were shifted into several combo classes creating much upheaval for the students and teachers. Neither students nor their teacher were given advance notice, they said.

According to comments from Dr. Morris, families move in and out of the district and do not always notify their schools in a timely manner, which makes it difficult to determine exact enrollment numbers. He explained that is sometimes why adjustments have to be made. There are approximately 19 combo classes throughout the district this year.

(UPDATE)-- Niles Elementary Principal, Jim Hough was able to work out the situation in order to avoid combo classes. In a September 14 letter, sent out to parents, he stated,
"...Fortunately, by accepting all transfer requests to our school from parents of students attending other schools and not having to overload any students from 3rd or 4th grade due to a reduction in staff, we were able to increase our classes to a level where we will not be required to make any changes. Therefore, all students will remain in the class that they are currently assigned."

Unaudited Actuals Financial Report:
Director of Accounting, Robert Pascual and Assist Superintendent of Business, Raul Parungao presented the financial update, as required by September 15.

Update on Facilities' Needs:
The Board deferred the Irvington HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning) action until the next meeting; future recommendations and decisions will be made based on funding available.

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