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Fremont Unified School District Board meeting report

By Miriam G. Mazliach

June 21, 2011

The following are highlights from the Fremont Unified School District Board (FUSD) meeting held on June 8, 2011.

Closed Session:
During an earlier Closed Session, the Board approved the following:
Tammy Eglinton as Principal of Mattos Elementary School.
Juan Espinosa as Director of Certificated Personnel.

Science Fair Awards:
The district’s Science Fair Competition took place on May 20 and the winning students were recognized at the Board meeting.

Kindergarten: Nimisa Panda, Forest Park Elementary
1st grade: Keon Abdollahian, Gomes Elementary
2nd grade: Rishi Baskar, Mission Valley Elementary
3rd grade: Michael Du, Mattos Elementary
4th grade: Victor Ho, Warwick Elementary
5th grade: Nisha Gupta, Brookvale Elementary
6th grade: Tim Stevenson, Warm Springs Elementary
7th grade: Andrea Tam, Hopkins Jr. High
8th grade: Ashank Singh, Thornton Jr. High

Citizen’s for Better Community (CBC) Scholarships:
CBC Foundation, a 501(c) (3) federal tax exempt organization, was established by a group of Chinese Americans to bring increased awareness and appreciation of their culture to the community. This year, CBC awarded six - $1,000 scholarships to six graduating seniors, representing the various high schools in FUSD.

CBC Board members, Steve Cho, Dr. Herbert Chiu, Tim Tran, Lily Mei and Ivy Wu, introduced the recipients of their 2011 CBC Foundation Scholarships.

1. American High: Debra Bilodeau
2. Irvington High: Rajeswari Ramanathan
3. Kennedy High: Hannah Elizabeth Stephens
4. Mission San Jose High: Vishal Yadav
5. Washington High: Tessa Thym
6. Washington High: Ahmed Syed

Library Goal Recognition Awards:
School librarians, LMTs and their respective schools were saluted for the significant increase in the number of books checked out and utilized by the student population during the school year. According to Roxane Jablonski-Liu, Director of Assessment & Elementary Instruction, that translated to three-quarters of a million books checked out and shelved this year with between 700-1,000 students a day using the school libraries. Jablonski-Liu described libraries as “places where everyone is welcome and safe.”

Regular Board Agenda Items:
Student Learning & Achievement:

A variety of students and programs were recognized, including Peer Counseling students, “who exemplified the spirit of helping,” according to teacher Carl Bullard.

Outgoing and incoming SURF (Student School Representatives) from each of the Fremont high schools were also introduced and recognized with certificates.

Divya Gupta, Student Board Member of FUSD, who has completed her term on the School Board, received a resolution in appreciation of her service.

Oral Communications:
During a time reserved for public comment, a group of parents from Chadbourne Elementary School took turns at the microphone to speak individually regarding their strong concerns with a particular 5th grade teacher at the school. Parents spoke of unprovoked bullying by the teacher and described how their children have suffered with depression, loss of self-esteem and behavior changes. “I’ve lost my child,” said one parent. “I don’t want this to happen to another child.” Superintendent Morris said that he would investigate the situation and follow up with the parents as soon as possible.

Finance/Budget Reductions:
Those in attendance were concerned that the district might consider further cuts, in particular to Library staff, Maintenance and Classified Personnel. Superintendent Morris explained that per the directives of the last Board meeting on May 25, the district’s Staff was asked to build a budget based on flat funding, approximately the same as last year. The Governor has built a budget, based on temporary sales taxes, which haven’t been passed. Morris asked, “What happens if budget funding goes south. How would our district survive?”

If the worst scenario materializes, the district might have to cut an additional $20 million for the next three years. So, in light of that, he reiterated that FUSD needs to build a budget, on what is anticipated and to create a list of options for potential cuts. “If we had to make cuts, we can be prepared in lots of possible areas.”

During Oral Communications, Irvington Library Media teacher Allyson McAuley commented, “Don’t go against what the voters wanted, with Measure K.”

Kim Cantacessi of California School Employees Association (CSEA) added in support, “We were promised that this district would keep libraries open for our students. You have the authority to make this right.”

Fremont School Board trustees will vote on the budget at their next meeting on June 22.

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