9/14 FUSD Board Meeting: National Merit Scholarship, Budget Overviews, and More


FUSD Board

FUDTA President Brannin Dorsey asks the Board to allocate remaining district funds to students.

On Sep.14, 2022, the Fremont Unified School District (FUSD) Board of Education held its first Regular Meeting during the 2022-23 school year. It covered recent student achievements, community concerns, and agreements pending approval by the board. 

One of the first items discussed during open session was Superintendent CJ Cammack’s recognition of National Merit Scholarship Semifinalists from FUSD, which at 169 had the second highest number of semifinalists in California after San Jose. Mission San Jose, with 81 semifinalists, had the most, followed by American (41) and Irvington (33). The achievement is a “testament to the excellence of our students and our educators, and the dedication of our families to their education [and] success,” Cammack stated.

After renewing agreements with Turnitin and TeachMore—a plagiarism detection and Flex sign-in platform, respectively—the board moved on to the next agenda item: the Unaudited Financial Report from the 2021-22 fiscal year. Overall, the district spent about 9% more than required on classroom compensation. Spending from state revenue streams was generally over budget, with funds going to programs such as early intervention preschool for children in special education. Expenditures were lower than budgeted for federal revenue, which included special education grants and restricted categorical funds. The remaining restricted fund of $24.9 million will be transferred to next fiscal year.

FUDTA President Brannin Dorsey pointed out during open comments that $14.8 million in reserves remained, citing “[spending] this year’s money on this year’s kids” as an important premise to maintain. While restricted reserves are high, they can only be used for specified purposes, and FUSD’s unrestricted reserves are below state average, necessitating careful spending. 

The board proceeded to address concerns about American High’s pool, which had been closed by Alameda County Health Department due to safety concerns resulting from lack of maintenance. Citing Junior Olympics Water Polo and MVAL’s removal of Fremont facilities from their site lists, American water polo head coach Anthony Tse called the situation a “disgrace.” “I’ve had kids come out with rashes, their eyes burn, but we have to go in because that’s their job,” Tse added, asking the board to take action. The superintendent responded that staff are already working on the issue, which is “at the top of [his] priority list.” 

Ms. Fields also dialed in through Zoom to urge the board to address complaints of broken HVAC units at Irvington, which have gone unfixed for years. “Teachers learned long ago that no matter how many work orders we may submit, they won’t get fixed,” Ms. Fields stated, adding that some students suffered heat exhaustion as a result. Superintendent Cammack acknowledged the need to “do a better job” and explained that HVAC dysfunctionality stemmed from a broken power source in the main; most issues have been resolved.

The board then moved to approve a motion to purchase much-needed technology materials—mostly robotics kits—for Project Lead the Way courses, which emphasize hands-on STEM experience through classes like Principles of Design. Several trustees praised the program and expressed interest in expanding it in the future. 

Other proposals passed include the Local Control Accountability Plan, negotiations between Fremont Unified School District and School Employees International Union, and salary increases for senior management and the superintendent.