The Smoke Signal, MSJ's Official Newspaper


Save Fremont Students Earns $500,000 to Save FUSD Teachers

     Over the last several weeks of the 2009-10 school year, Save Fremont Students (SFS) saved four elementary school teachers from unemployment.
     The campaign took root when Virginia Hom, a mother of two Fremont Unified School District (FUSD) elementary school students, and three MSJHS seniors who graduated last June. David Cao, Eric Chin, and Rebecca Xing met last May to discuss their concern for FUSD’s financial rut. And set a goal to raise $4.5 million by the end of July of 2010.

     High school students involved organized a summer Celebration Gala, “Stairway to the Future” in August, which included dinner, entertainment, and a silent auction. Other fundraisers included singing at the local Irvington farmers’ market, raising neighborhood awareness via door-to-door campaigning, and hosting a block sale. The parent branch engaged corporate sponsors who matched the money raised.
     In total, SFS raised over $500,000 in roughly six weeks. Despite the falling short on their goal, about $400,000 was used to save four elementary schools, and the remainder was shared among secondary schools to fund various financial gaps.

     This year SFS will focus on Measure K, an FUSD parcel tax. School officials calculate that if approved, it will generate about $13 million over five years. The tax will provide funding for various local education and programs, such as required math, science, and reading programs; keeping school libraries open; classroom technology; maintaining college and workforce preparation programs; and retaining qualified teachers. The partial ballot proposition is on November 2, 2010 for all voters in the school district. It will need a two-thirds majority vote to pass. “We need to get a lot of parents involved,” said Hom.

     To reach their goal, SFS plans to raise awareness by posting signs and campaigning door to door around local neighborhoods.
     Raising awareness may seem trivial, it has a large impact. Last school year, FUSD made a negotiation to maintain and save as many teachers as possible after parents complained.
Cao said that students who want to help “can form a group and organize themselves for the November elections to call voters and inform them about local funding measure [K]. Cao says passage of Measure K will help FUSD mitigate some of its largest budget woes.

A message to the students from David Cao:
“I would like to express our thanks to those who supported our campaign and gave their time and money to help the campaign. I hope they will remember that we are not powerless. Together, we truly can make a difference. So go out and help FUSD pass the local funding measure this November.”
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