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FUSD Board Meeting Report

By Miriam G. Mazliach

October 19, 2010

The following are highlights from the Fremont Unified School District board meeting held on October 13.

Superintendent’s Report:
Livia Thomas, the Title I Specialist at Grimmer Elementary, was announced as Alameda County Teacher of the Year at a special ceremony held on October 7. Superintendent Morris congratulated her on this wonderful honor on behalf of the Fremont community. (Thomas’ accomplishments were featured in two recent Tri-City Voice articles published on June 8 and October 12.)

Another district employee, Cynthia Eborall, was recognized for her dedication and efforts. Eborall was named CSEA’s (California School Employees Association) Para-Educator of the Year for California. For over 22 years, Eborall, who is presently at Walters Junior High, has been helping Special Education students in the classroom. “To be sensitive to their needs and build up their self-esteem is a very important part of the job,” says Eborall.

She further elaborated on how she assists students in her classroom. “I work with the teacher on each student’s individual educational plan (IEP), which at all times is kept confidential. We teach science and math in my class and I work as directed by the classroom teacher. I also implement the lesson plans and give my input into what we can do to build the foundation for success for each student,” added Eborall.

At last week’s special Board meeting, Superintendent Morris noted that Bill Stephens, the Assistant Superintendent for Business would be retiring at the end of the calendar year. His financial expertise has helped guide FUSD through this period of budget woes.

Student school leadership members (SURF Board) heard a presentation on “Youth Court” which is a student diversion program strategy used in other communities. Fremont may consider implementing it at some future time and more talks are planned.

On Thursday, October 21, City of Fremont employees and FUSD staff and students will join other Californians in participating in “The Great California ShakeOut” – the largest earthquake drill in history.

Consent Calendar:
In line with the recent California State Assembly, who proclaimed the second week of October as Disability History Week, the FUSD Board and Staff heard from representatives of the disabled community and later adopted a resolution proclaiming the second week in October as Disability History Week in Fremont.

Oral Communications on Non-Agenda Items:
District Parents, Gail Edwards and Dianne Jones, both spoke out against the cancellation of Open House. “Why weren’t we given advance notice? It’s a chance for students to show-off to their parents, their accomplishments throughout the school year,” said Jones.

Regular Board Agenda Items
Budget Update:
In general, for anticipated funds from the State, there may be a wait as there is a cash flow issue. Fremont may have to consider a TRAN, or short-term loan to cover payroll in the future.

The State of California finally passed its budget and the district has received about 90 percent of the $6 million earmarked for FUSD from the Federal Jobs Bill. However, the district is unsure when or if, it will receive the remainder and this is a one-time only distribution.

On the brighter side, Fremont, unlike many other districts, is “a growth district,” and this school year has 305 students over what was originally projected. This translates into additional average daily attendance (ADA) revenue at about $270 per student or approximately $9 million more dollars for FUSD.

Later high school start time:
The Board re-approved the “later start time,” of 8 a.m., at Fremont district high schools, beginning with the upcoming fall term. High costs attributed to changes of school bus transportation routes, which delayed the plan’s implementation this year, have been worked out. The expense to the district should be no more than $16,000.

Bullying Awareness:
As October has been designated Bullying Awareness and Prevention Month, a presentation was made by Rickey Jones, Director of Pupil Services. In the 2003, 2005 and 2007 school years, a random sampling of about 1,000 students was obtained regarding various acts of harassment or bullying. In 2009, all students in grades 5, 7, 9 and 11 were surveyed, with the inclusion of questions about “cyberbullying,” (spreading mean rumors or lies on the internet).

Survey results seem to indicate that while some occurrences of bullying have stayed the same or declined, there are areas where the number of incidents, related to race, religion or sexual orientation have increased slightly.

Fremont schools have in place a variety of anti-bullying programs currently taking place in the schools. Additional training will be offered to site administrators and yard duty personnel.

School Board Trustee, Larry Sweeney stated that bullying on all levels, requires early intervention. “We have to have a system to follow, so that everyone is accountable.”

This year, a smaller number of students have been overloaded (sent out of their neighborhood school, due to over-enrollment). However, the school sites with the highest continuous number of overloads are in the American attendance area, specifically Forest Park and Ardenwood elementary schools and Parkmont elementary in the Washington attendance area.

With the impending housing development planned for the Patterson Ranch area, the overcrowding of these schools, already “at capacity” is a major problem which must be addressed.

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