5/11 FUSD Board Meeting: Updates on SURFBoardE, Mental Health Services, and More

The board discusses an agenda item.

FUSD Board of Education

The board discusses an agenda item.

On May 11th, 2022, the Fremont Unified School District (FUSD) Board of Education held a regular meeting to discuss SURFBoardE’s year in review, show appreciation for retiring staff, and approve various agenda items. 

The meeting began with item 3.1, a presentation given by SURF vice chairperson Zayaan Khan (12), State of the SURF. Khan explained the basics of SURF’s functions, which includes working with admin and ASG to create change in the district. Each high school has three SURF representatives, with each representative serving on at least one district committee to represent student opinions. At Irvington, SURF was able to provide student perspectives on the wellness center and mental health initiatives. It also worked with QUEST students to promote the State Seal of Civic Engagement, an award recognizing students who demonstrate noteworthy civic participation. In addition, SURF helped cultivate leadership and advocacy skills in elementary and middle school students through the District Representatives Conference. SURF’s social media presence, meanwhile, helped enhance their advocacy and outreach efforts through posts such as Board Meeting recaps. Three core novels on the district’s new Core Novel list – designed to represent more diverse and inclusive viewpoints – were also nominated by SURF. 

Retiree Recognition, item 8.1, consisted of a presentation with the names of retirees for the 2021-22 school year from throughout the district, as well as their respective high schools. Irvington retirees included Ms. Ammon and Ms. Rooney, who have taught in the district for 32 and 10 years, respectively. After the presentation, Board members expressed gratitude for retiring FUSD educators and the work that they have done.

During Public Comment sessions, items 4.1 and 15.1, various speakers came forward. Multiple teachers from FUDTA expressed frustration with the state of salary negotiations, emphasizing that rising living costs make current offers inadequate. Justin Valencia, a history teacher at Horner Middle School, pointed to large class sizes and teachers leaving the district or the profession altogether as signs that change is necessary. American high school math teacher David Biblin acknowledged that while FUSD has many bills to pay, inflation in the Bay Area is extremely high, urging the board to “please do the right thing.” Similarly, FUDTA President Brannin Dorsey emphasized that 57% of educators live outside Fremont, and must commute to cities like Davis and Stockton. “We’re hemorrhaging teachers,” she stated, noting that educators have been working for three hundred days without a contract. 

One of the last proposals approved by the Board was a contract with the Hume Center – a community mental health center – to make more mental health clinicians available on campuses. Currently, the Hume Center works with the American and Washington High Schools. The contract, effective for the 2022-23 school year, would make highly trained mental health clinicians available at all six FUSD high schools and provide support for both students and staff. “Prevention-focused activities” would address mental health challenges related to stress management, sexuality and gender, communication with parents, and more. The resolution passed unanimously, with a 5-0 vote.

The board is scheduled to meet next on June 15, 2022.