In addition to watching a couple of performances by Fremont’s talented school children, there were a couple of routine items on the agenda. We heard a presentation on how both the City and the School District are implementing clean energy strategies. We also received a presentation on how AC Transit has dedicated a few bus lines primarily to get kids to and from school.
The FUSD Attorney presented a talk on Level III fees. I had requested in our last joint meeting to hear more about this. The bottom line is this is something controlled at the State level so there’s not much the City nor FUSD can do about this except send people to Sacramento to lobby for these fees to be implemented. This week local school advocates are indeed filling buses and taking them to Sacramento for just this purpose. (See my prior post on the State bond measure for more info on this.)
The most depressing item on the agenda was the enrollment update. During the open comment period someone passed out a copy of the Mercury News article on the bathroom problem in our schools where some kids reported using their whole lunch period just to use the restroom. Superintendent Morris noted that all the School District can do at this point is put in “portables, portables, and more portables”. Our elementary schools were designed for a capacity of 400-500 students. Demand has forced the District to have 900-1,000 students at some of these schools. While the portables work to accommodate more students, the common facilities such as the cafeteria and bathrooms, are only adequate for the smaller numbers.
Given all of this, I’m really worried about the future of our schools. Even if we stopped approving any new residential development right now, the amount of already approved housing in the process of development is huge and will undoubtedly make things even worse as these homes get built. And there are even more parcels that are being considered for conversion from retail/commercial to residential.
In my last campaign I pledged not to approve any new housing development if we don’t know where the kids from those developments are going to school. I lived up to that pledge last time and am making that same pledge in my 2016 campaign.