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Superintendent's Message - January 2020 - Board Pursues a Parcel Tax to Help Counter Budget Shortfalls
Posted 12/18/19

As you may have heard, Fremont Unified School District has been facing budget shortfalls which have impacted our ability to maintain lower class sizes, robust instructional offerings, and support staff positions at our school sites. The FUSD Board of Trustees recently authorized a resolution to pursue a parcel tax for the March 3, 2020 Primary Election. The passage of “Measure L” for a nine-year term at $296 per parcel in the City of Fremont would restore over $18 million in ongoing funding to serve our district’s students.

Though we are the second-largest district in the County of Alameda, we are funded at the second-lowest level of all 18 neighboring districts. Our current parcel tax of $73 generates $127 per student, which is strikingly below the county average of $1,001 local revenue per student in other cities. Even with this funding disparity, we have a proven track record of fiscal responsibility and transparency. The Alameda County Office of Education (ACOE) has accepted FUSD’s proposed three-year budgets with a “positive certification” 100% of the time.

After making nearly $16 million in painstaking budget reductions in the 2019-20 school year, we may need to make $20 million more in cuts for the 2020-21 school year. You may wonder why we keep finding ourselves in this situation. To break it down simply, the State and Federal governments have historically provided inadequate funding to local districts, while at the same time passing legislation and making decisions that increase our costs of doing business. Special Education services have been woefully under-funded (at the tune of over $50 million per year in FUSD), employee pension costs have nearly doubled in the past five years, and nationally-set Cost of Living Adjustments (COLA) allocations have barely made a dent for families trying to make ends meet in the high-priced Bay Area.

We know how much Fremont residents value the quality of education we provide. We are all very proud of our 35 state and nationally recognized schools and the accomplishments of our outstanding students. Our educators are exceptional, our support staff remarkable, our leadership devoted, and our families true partners. FUSD has achieved a lot with very little state and local funding and this proposed parcel tax will help us continue to be the best public school option in the East Bay, while we also continue to rally for full and fair funding from the state.

 

Kim Wallace, Ed.D
Superintendent
Fremont Unified School District