By: Staff Writer Pratham Gupta
On September 9, the FUSD Board of Education unanimously voted to keep the Patterson Ranch residential development in northern Fremont unassigned after representatives from KB Homes, DR Horton, and Brookfield Homes addressed the Board on August 12 concerning this issue. Previously, Patterson Ranch had been approved to develop 500 residential units in northern Fremont. At an earlier Board meeting on February 2, FUSD Superintendent Jim Morris said, “There are currently about 350 students overloaded out of Forest Park Elementary School and they go to Oliveira Elementary and Patterson Elementary School, and there are going to be at least a couple of hundred more coming and we just don’t have room for those students.”
For the 2014-15 school year, FUSD had 33,935 students enrolled; 19,148 students were enrolled in elementary schools throughout Fremont. State law now requires that by the 2020-21 school year, the maximum teacher-student ratio should be 1 to 24 in elementary schools. Over the course of the construction, the developers will pay $6-7 million in developer’s fee to FUSD, which will help in aiding the impact on current schools. The cost for a new elementary school, however, is $35-$37 million. On September 9, the Board decided that students in the Patterson Ranch Development will be randomly assigned to any schools in the district that would have available seats during the time of the assignment.
In the meeting, many students and community members were also present. Surf Board E Student Representative Joshua Basa said, “It was a very intense meeting. There were many students, parents, and community members; probably the most attendance at a board meeting ever.” MSJ Principal Zack Larsen said, “It is commendable that kids are aware of local politics both at the school-board and city council level.”
In 2007, the Board of Education approved a procedure allowing for more flexible authority concerning assignment of new housing developments to different attendances areas to avoid congestion and overcrowding. The Board biannually considers recommendations to assign attendance areas for students from new housing developments in Fremont. FUSD Board of Education President Desrie Campbell said, “FUSD is committed to working with developers and anticipate a cooperative working situation in the future.”