Citizens Advisory Committee on Enrollment
The purpose of the Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) is to study the enrollment needs of FUHSD and all its aspects, and to provide recommendations to the FUHSD Board of Trustees so it can make decisions regarding enrollment that benefit the Fremont Union High School District as a whole. The FUHSD Superintendent created a Superintendent's ad hoc Citizens Advisory Committee on Enrollment in Spring 2016. This committee meets independently from the Board of Trustees and has an independent facilitator.
The CAC will be reconvened in the 2023-24 school year to continue its work from the prior year.
At the start of the 2022-23 school year, the FUHSD Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) was reconvened to discuss strategies for stabilizing enrollment across all five comprehensive high schools beginning in the 2023-24 school year. The reconvened group was made up of five parents or community members from each high school area, a student from each school, the five principals, FEA representatives Jason Heskett and Bonnie Belshe and district staff.
While declining enrollment continues to be an issue across the District, the problem has become most acute at Monta Vista High School. The CAC met over the course of five meetings, where they were given a great deal of information about the district’s operations, funding, enrollment data over time, course scheduling process and other critical topics to help them consider a variety of short-term solutions to bolster enrollment at MVHS.
After careful consideration, the CAC made a recommendation to the Board of Trustees at the Dec. 6 Board meeting to approve a one-year transfer program that would allow for the transfer of approximately 30 students from the Homestead High School attendance area to MVHS. This program, which will be called the Monta Vista Supplemental School Assignment Program (MSSAP) will operate in a similar fashion to the Lynbrook Supplemental School Assignment Program (LSSAP) that has been in place for the last six years. It will have the same application process and deadlines, however, it will be open only to all incoming ninth grade students that live within the Homestead attendance area.
The CAC will continue to work together to study how the LSSAP and subsequently the MSSAP are working, while also looking at more long-term solutions for stabilizing enrollment.
More information about the MSSAP can be found on our Enrollment webpage.
- CAC Update: Nov. 8, 2022
- CAC UPDATE: Oct. 25, 2022
- CAC Update: Oct. 11, 2022
- CAC Update: Sept. 27, 2022
- CAC Update: Sept. 13, 2022
- Update on Reconvening the CAC: Aug. 2022
- CAC Update: Nov. 13, 2019
- CAC Update: Dec. 19, 2017
- CAC Update: May 24, 2017
- CAC Update: Nov. 29, 2016
- CAC Update: Nov. 9, 2016
- CAC Update: Oct. 26, 2016
- CAC Update: Oct. 12, 2016
- CAC Update: Sept. 28, 2016
- CAC Update: Sept. 14, 2016
- CAC Update: Aug. 31, 2016
- CAC Update: Aug. 17, 2016
- CAC Update: Aug. 3, 2016
- CAC Update: June 22, 2016
- CAC Update: June 8, 2016
- CAC Update: May 25, 2016
- CAC Update: May 10, 2017
- CAC Update: April 27, 2016
In 2016, the FUHSD Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) was established to study the enrollment needs of FUHSD, with a focus on the declining enrollment of Lynbrook High School. The efforts of the committee resulted in the FUHSD Board of Trustees' approval of a plan to supplement Lynbrook's enrollment. Since that time, enrollment has continued to decline across FUHSD, with other campuses beginning to see the impacts of fewer students. For this reason, Superintendent Graham Clark decided to reconvene the CAC and continue the work of the group to discuss strategies for balancing enrollment across all five comprehensive high schools beginning in the 2023-24 school year. Strategies that may be considered by the reconvened CAC do not include school closure. An initial outcome of the CAC will be to provide a report to the Board of Trustees at the November 15 Board meeting to enable them to make decisions around enrollment for implementation in the 2023-24 school year.
While many of the original CAC members will be continuing their service on the committee, applications from other individuals who were interested in joining the committee were solicited in August 2022. Applications were only solicited from individuals living within the Cupertino, Fremont, Homestead and Monta Vista boundary areas, in order to balance the committee membership. The original committee was formed with the highest number of members coming from the Lynbrook High School attendance area, as Lynbrook was most affected by the decline in enrollment at the time of the CAC's forming. For this reason, new applications were not accepted from the Lynbrook community, as the school remains well represented by a strong contingent of members who remain committed to this work. The final selection of new members will be determined in adherence to the goal of forming a committee that is representative of a variety of stakeholders throughout the Fremont Union High School District.
The Citizens Advisory Committee met on Tuesday, Dec. 19, for their second follow up meeting with FUHSD staff since the conclusion of the CAC’s initial activities in November 2016 and the passage of the Lynbrook Supplemental School Assignment Plan (LSSAP) by the Board on November 15, 2016. The purpose of the meeting was to review the results of the LSSAP for the current school year, determine a recommendation for the Board for the 2018-19 school year in regards to Lynbrook High School enrollment, discuss the need for a long-term plan and gain feedback about how effective communication with community members has been around the issue of enrollment and the work of the CAC. FUHSD staff, including Superintendent Polly Bove, Assistant Superintendent Trudy Gross, Director of Business Services Jason Crutchfield, Manager of Enrollment and Residency Julie Darwish and Principals Maria Jackson and Kami Tomberlain, made a presentation to the group which covered the following topics:
- Summary of applicants and transfers under the LSSAP;
- Effects on the Lynbrook and Cupertino campuses and the students that chose to transfer; and
- Current enrollment numbers.
Demographer Tom Williams also made a presentation on updated enrollment projections for the next five years (refer to page 14 in the presentation below).
CAC members had the opportunity to ask questions throughout the presentation. Following the presentations, CAC members and staff discussed the enrollment data and possible solutions both in the short and long term. A proposal was made to recommend that the Board continue with the LSSAP for a period of up to two years, with a maximum of 90 student transfers per year, to provide time for the District and the CAC to examine potential long-term possibilities and solutions. The CAC members in attendance unanimously approved this proposal, and also made an agreement to continue to work together long-term on the issue of stabilizing enrollment. The CAC's recommendation will be brought to the Board of Trustees at the next regularly scheduled Board Meeting on Jan. 9. A second informational review meeting for the CAC members who were unable to attend the official Dec. 19 meeting was held on Jan. 4.
The Citizens Advisory Committee met on Wednesday, May 24, for their first follow up meeting with FUHSD staff since the conclusion of the CAC’s initial activities in November 2016 and the passage of the Lynbrook Supplemental School Assignment Plan (LSSAP) by the Board on November 15, 2016. FUHSD staff, including Assistant Superintendent Trudy Gross, Director of Business Services Jason Crutchfield, Manager of Enrollment and Residency Julie Darwish and Principals Maria Jackson and Kami Tomberlain, made a presentation to the group which covered the following topics:
- LSSAP resolution as passed by the Board in November;
- LSSAP application and enrollment goals;
- LSSAP communication plan;
- Application results;
- Confirmed transfers by area and school, (also displayed on a map);
- Effects on students that have already transferred; and
- Updated school enrollment projections for the coming school year.
CAC members had the opportunity to ask questions throughout the presentation. There were questions on why some parents had chosen to withdraw their applications to Lynbrook, whether sibling transfers were locked in for the future and whether the latest enrollment projections were showing any different trends. Several members were also interested to know at what point the District might chose to look for a more permanent solution, specifically a boundary change. Staff shared that more time and data will be needed before beginning to think about a different solution. The committee members suggested that the next follow up meeting be held sometime shortly after the 40th day of school when the District’s enrollment numbers have stabilized, in order to have an accurate picture of what is happening at each site.
On Nov. 15, the FUHSD Board of Trustees voted to accept the recommendation of the Citizens Advisory Committee regarding the stabilization of enrollment at Lynbrook High School. Please view this community letter for more information on the adopted recommendation, which was approved via Board Resolution No. 1617-08: Approving a Supplemental School Assignment Plan, and implementation of the plan.
On Wednesday, Nov. 9, the Citizens Advisory Committee presented their findings and recommendations on the issue of enrollment, specifically the declining enrollment at Lynbrook High School, during a special board study session. Members of the community were invited and given the opportunity to share their thoughts and opinions during an open session.
For more information, please view the CAC's presentation.
On October 26, the CAC met for the tenth and final time to review the committee’s final report to the Superintendent and FUHSD Board of Education. The seven-member Communications Subcommittee reviewed the presentation they will be giving to the Superintendent, Board and community members at the November 9 Special Study Session at Fremont High School.
On October 12, the CAC met for the ninth time to finalize the committee’s recommendations to the Superintendent and Board of Trustees. During the last CAC meeting, committee members had a long discussion about possible future need for more definitive solutions to the problem of declining enrollment at Lynbrook High School in the CAC’s final recommendations. Committee members were presented with three different language options by facilitator Minh Le. They then discussed edits and changes to these options, and committee members were given the opportunity to advocate for their preferred option. Committee members subsequently voted on the three language options, but were divided between the three choices (Language Option 1 received 11 votes, Language Option 2 received 11 votes, and Language Option 3 received 8 votes). Mr. Le suggested to the group that a consensus on this additional language was not required, and that all three language options would be incorporated in the final report to the Superintendent and Board of Trustees so that they would be aware of the full range of sentiments from the committee about this question.
The committee then discussed the creation of a Communications Subcommittee. CAC members nominated and subsequently elected seven CAC members. Several additional nominations were made, but those individuals declined. The seven-member subcommittee is tasked with relaying information to the community at large and presenting the CAC’s final report to the Superintendent and Board at a special study session on Wednesday, Nov. 9. At the end of the meeting, Superintendent Polly Bove reviewed the logistics, timing and preparations that would be necessary for the subcommittee to follow in order to have the CAC’s final report ready for the Nov. 9 Board study session.
The eighth meeting of the CAC provided an opportunity for committee members to submit proposals for a solution to the Lynbrook High School enrollment issue, to advocate for those proposals and vote upon them. Facilitator Minh Le set an ambitious goal for committee members, to achieve a consensus with at least 80% majority vote in recommending an enrollment stabilizing solution. Following the nomination of 8 separate proposals, the committee went through three rounds of voting. Before each vote, committee members were invited to briefly advocate for their preferred proposal. The results of the final round of voting indicated that 76% of the committee supported what was named Proposal A, which was a combination of the following enrollment stabilizing options: Option 7G (All 8th Graders at Miller Middle School have the option to choose to attend LHS), Option 8G (All 8th graders at McAuliffe Middle School have the option to choose to attend LHS) and Option 6 (All 8th Graders in the Hyde Middle School attendance area have the option to apply to attend LHS), with each option implemented concurrently. This did not reach the 80% threshold that the facilitator was looking for. However, together with another compromise solution, Proposal D, an 83% threshold was reached. Proposal D is made up of Option 6 (All 8th Graders in the Hyde Middle School attendance area have the option to apply to attend LHS), Option 7 (All 8th Graders in the Miller Middle School attendance area have the option to apply to attend LHS) and Option 8 (All 8th graders at McAuliffe Middle School have the option to apply to attend LHS). The next meeting of the CAC will be held on Oct. 12 at which time CAC members will finalize their recommendations regarding the longer term enrollment stabilization of LHS and determine how to present their recommendations to the Superintendent and the Board.
The seventh meeting of the CAC provided an opportunity for committee members to acknowledge and resolve past dynamics and to continue discussion about possible solutions to the issue of declining enrollment at Lynbrook High School. The committee reviewed the eight available options that have been discussed over the past several meetings and discussed their pros and cons, as well as the various criteria that should be used in choosing a solution(s) and making a recommendation to the Superintendent and the Board of Education. Several proposals were put on the table by members of the committee, however no formal votes were taken. The CAC will reconvene for their next meeting on Sept. 28 to continue working towards consensus on a recommendation to the Superintendent and the Board and to discuss the formation of a Communications Subcommittee that would be tasked with sharing information with the broader community.
The sixth meeting of the CAC provided an opportunity for committee members to review and narrow down enrollment stabilizing options, while considering both practicality and reasonability. Committee facilitator Minh Le revisited some comments made by the district’s Enrollment Projection Consultant Tom Williams, regarding his belief that after the year 2020 a significant decline in enrollment could occur across the entire district. Minh reminded the committee that at this time, this is not yet an official forecast, and if and when that projection shows up within the 5-year forecast window, there will be plenty of time for planning and appropriate strategies to be developed to address that development if necessary. The committee subsequently discussed target setting for the attending enrollment at Lynbrook and arrived at consensus that 1850 is the ideal minimum attending enrollment at this time. Director of Business Services Jason Crutchfield provided a brief overview of class size ratios and the section allocation process, while Associate Superintendent Graham Clark gave a short presentation on the planned school and facilities improvements at Lynbrook from Measure K. The CAC members reviewed the methods available to the district for stabilizing enrollment and discussed the pros and cons of several of these methods. During the course of this discussion, Minh suggested that because community buy-in on a boundary change would be very difficult to achieve at this time, the committee might consider removing this method from consideration. Three CAC members were in disagreement with this motion. Minh recognized the objection from these three members and acknowledged that more discussion was desirable. At the close of the meeting, Minh asked committee members to think further about eliminating from consideration the most contentious “win-lose” methods in preparation for the next meeting of the CAC on Sept. 14.
The fifth meeting of the FUHSD Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) provided an opportunity for the CAC’s Enrollment Projection Subcommittee to report out to the entire committee on their enrollment data analysis and key findings. This analysis was developed after several subcommittee meetings with internal and external subject matter experts to review and analyze the enrollment data. The subcommittee determined in their key findings that while near-term projections were more accurate than long-term projections and that the accuracy level was not completely uniform across all of the high schools, the best case scenario still indicates that there is a decline in enrollment at Lynbrook and a need to take measures to address this decline. The members of the subcommittee stated that they had verified the enrollment projection methodology and did not believe a second opinion to be necessary. The subcommittee included in their recommendations to the CAC that committee members think of enrollment projections as a range, rather than a single data point and to focus on a solution that would allow flexibility for long-term success.
The district’s enrollment projection consultant Tom Williams also made a presentation to the committee, which included information on enrollment trends throughout the Bay Area, the impact of both new housing and the cost of living/housing prices on student enrollment, trends in FUHSD enrollment over the last decade and data and trends from FUHSD’s two feeder districts – Sunnyvale School District and Cupertino Union School District. FUHSD staff provided information about enrollment and its effect on course options and the levels below which comprehensive education course options are compromised. Following the evening’s presentations, the CAC members were asked to state individual conclusions that suggested a high level of general agreement that more students are needed to boost enrollment at Lynbrook High School in order to maintain a comprehensive high school experience and robust course offerings for all students.
The first five meetings of the CAC up to now have provided an opportunity for members to learn more about FUHSD, accountability requirements and the interdependence of enrollment, funding, staffing and course offerings. Beginning with the next meeting, the committee will begin to consider possible solutions to address the declining enrollment at Lynbrook High School.
The focus of the fourth meeting of the FUHSD Citizens Advisory Committee provided the opportunity for CAC members to more deeply understand the different enrollment options that are available for their consideration, such as area of choice, open enrollment, boundary change, program location or relocation, and intra-district transfers. Attorney Ed Sklar was present to provide legal information about the viability of different enrollment strategies and options. FUHSD Superintendent Polly Bove continued with her practice of participating in a question and answer session with the CAC and at this meeting questions were asked about Proposition 51 (concerning the fees that developers pay to school districts) and an inquiry about whether or not FUHSD was yet in receipt of updated enrollment numbers for this school year.
The third meeting of the FUHSD Citizens Advisory Committee provided another good opportunity for CAC members to learn more about FUHSD operations and realities that directly affect enrollment decisions. In this meeting’s question and answer section with Superintendent Polly Bove, questions were asked about the proposed redevelopment at Vallco in Cupertino which ranged from why she agreed to have her photograph included in promotional material about the Vallco project to the parcel taxes that new Vallco units will be required to pay. Polly was also asked about why FUHSD didn’t ask for new high school classrooms instead of space at Vallco. Also included in the meeting was the opportunity for CAC members to learn more about aspects of greatness at each of the five FUHSD high schools. FUHSD staff members made a presentation about a variety of topics including how the funds that FUHSD receives per student compare with neighboring school districts, the sources and distribution of FUHSD funding, section allocation and school capacity information, the benefits of the respectful and productive relationship with FUHSD employee groups, and information about how the FUHSD values guide decisions and prioritization. The next Citizens Advisory Committee is scheduled for August 3.
The work of the Citizens Advisory Committee continues to progress well and the June 8 meeting focused on providing information to familiarize CAC members with the accountability requirements and the constraints under which FUHSD operates. This foundation of information will be essential to know when the CAC contemplates future enrollment recommendations. A regular feature of each CAC meeting is to provide an opportunity for CAC members to ask FUHSD Superintendent Polly Bove questions and Ms. Bove continues to respond to questions in a clear and informative manner. The next CAC meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, June 22 and at that meeting the second part of this FUHSD study session will include information about funding, the interdependence of enrollment, funding, staffing, and course offerings, as well as information about school size, capacity, boundaries, and school facilities.
The first meeting of the Citizens Advisory Committee took place on May 25, 2016. With the exception of one student who was unable to attend, the remaining 35 CAC members were present and accounted for. The meeting was a good opportunity for committee members to introduce themselves and for the CAC to hear the hopes, thoughts, and concerns expressed by individuals. Committee members had the opportunity to participate in a question and answer session with FUHSD Superintendent Polly Bove as well as to more deeply understand the purpose, meeting focus, and expectations of the CAC. The Citizens Advisory Committee is a powerfully diverse community and a dedicated group.
The process for selecting members of the Citizens Advisory Committee has been thorough and unbiased, and the independent facilitator has worked to form a committee that is both diverse and representative of the community. To provide extra assurance that all aspects of this process are beyond reproach, all criteria established by the facilitator have been reviewed and approved by Judge John Flaherty, a retired judge with a history of successful arbitration, mediation, and dispute resolution and with no prior connection to FUHSD or the facilitator.
Based upon this judicial review and approval, the following guidelines were established:
The CAC will have 35 members in order to have diversity of membership and to include more of the many highly qualified applicants.
After looking at the ethnic composition of students from all five high schools, it was determined that approximately one-third of the committee members will be Caucasian and the rest will be Asian and other races. Because there were only two Hispanic and two African American applicants, the Judge agreed that these individuals should be invited to join the CAC to ensure representation from these under-represented groups.
Approximately 40% of the CAC applicants were male and the rest were female. The percentage of male participants should be the same or higher.
Of the 29 voting seats reserved for residents and parents from various FUHSD attendance areas, the following percentages would be used:
Lynbrook High School – 40%
Cupertino High School – 20%
Fremont High School – 20%
Homestead High School – 12%
Monta Vista High School – 8%
Because of their knowledge, experience, working relationships, and the ability to communicate to large numbers of their constituents, there will be a PTSA Council President from Cupertino High School and four PTSA Presidents (one from each of the four other high schools) invited to the CAC. The Judge agreed that because the PTSA Presidents were mostly Caucasian but brought a unique set of qualifications that were important to the success of the CAC, the percentage of Caucasians may go higher than one-third, but not to exceed 40%.
The president of the FUHSD teacher’s union will be a voting member who can speak for FUHSD teachers who are partners in the collective efforts to inspire, motivate, and educate FUHSD students.
Five FUHSD students will share three CAC positions and participate in all CAC discussions but they will not be voting CAC members because they are not yet legal adults.
Two CAC members will be from the FUHSD administration with expertise and experience in District enrollment and school scheduling matters, but these will be non-voting positions.
The five criteria detailed in the fourth question in the ‘Questions and Answers About the Citizens Advisory Committee’ section are of primary importance in the application review process.
Using the above constraints, the CAC facilitator selected members of the CAC and communicated that acceptance via email to those chosen on May 10. On this date, CAC applicants who were not selected were also informed of that decision and the facilitator offered to continue to keep in communication with them by providing meeting updates and being available to answer questions or hear concerns.
The process for applying to be a member of the FUHSD Citizens Advisory Committee was closed effective April 22, 2016. Over seventy community members applied to be considered for membership in the CAC and each of those who applied has been or will be contacted by the CAC facilitator Minh Le to further discuss their application.
The applications will be thoughtfully and thoroughly reviewed by Mr. Le who in his analysis will utilize the five criteria detailed in the answer to the fourth question in the below section of this website. His selection of committee members and the final makeup of the committee will be reviewed with an independent retired judge who will be asked to affirm the objective and unbiased process used. It is anticipated that final selections will be made and communicated in early to mid-May.
|Carley Stavis||FUHSD Teacher, FEA Representative|
|Bonnie Belshe||FUHSD Teacher, FEA Representative|
- There is a rumor that there are some “special invitees” in the Citizens Advisory Committee, which is concerning to me. Who are they and why do they receive special invitations to be on the Committee?
- Who is the retired judge that we have been hearing about and what is his connection to the process? Why dos the facilitator need guidance from a retired judge?
- We have been told that seven of the 29 parents and residents in the committee are either teachers or staff? What actions are taken to ensure they don't feel pressured to vote according to the District's wishes?
- What is the percentage of teachers and staff who were selected vs. the number that applied? How does this compare with the percentage of other applicants who were selected vs. applied?
- Why not publish a list of all applicants, what attendance area they come from, what their profession is, and whether they were selected for the CAC or not?
- We have heard from a resident in the Lynbrook area that the CAC is more representative of residents who are current or former employees, and not a true representation of the community.
- One of the residents in the Lynbrook area told us that their application to the CAC was rejected. The resident felt that the rejection was due to prior opposition to cell towers at FUHSD and that was the real reason for the rejection.
- One resident in the LHS area was told that the enrollment issue was only related to LHS. The resident was surprised that the CAC included residents from other attendance areas. When did this committee become a District-wide effort?
- How was it decided how many parents and residents from each high school attendance area would be selected for the CAC? Who made this decision?
There are no special invitees. Here is the composition of the Citizens Advisory Committee:
- There are thirty (30) voting members, consisting of twenty-nine (29) parents and residents within the District’s boundary, and the President of the teachers’ union, who has one vote on behalf of all the teachers in his organization.
- Within the twenty-nine (29) parents and residents, three (3) are current PTSA Presidents and one (1) is President of the PTSA Council. The PTSA President of Lynbrook HS had applied and was selected to serve on the CAC, but due to personal/family priorities, could not accept the invitation. A Lynbrook area applicant was invited to take her seat.
- Five students from three (3) of our high schools will take turns having three (3) seats in the committee. They are not voting members, since our students are not of legal age.
- Two administrators, one from Lynbrook high school and the other from the Enrollment and Residency Office of the District, serve as subject matter experts on issues such as enrollment and scheduling of classes, sections and programs. They are also non-voting members.
- The facilitator is assisted by a communication coordinator, and at times a transcriber to capture meeting minutes. The communication coordinator also handles questions sent by community members to CAC2016@fuhsd.org, and reports them to the committee. These people make up the facilitation team, and are not voting members.
- From time to time, subject area experts from FUHSD are asked to provide information to the CAC, however these FUHSD staff members are only present at a meeting at which they present and they do not vote on any CAC matters.
In the early stages of setting up the committee, establishing selection criteria, determining its proper composition, and ensuring proper diversity and balance, the District and the community all looked to the facilitator to make the most neutral and unbiased decisions.
While the facilitator possessed 15 years of experience in the practice of neutrality, the complexity of the issues raised by more than 76 applicants in the one-on-one conversations he was having with applicants convinced the facilitator to request the assistance of a retired judge.
This is a frequently used service by an organization called JAMS (Judicial Arbitration and Mediation Services). JAMS provides judicial neutrals who are retired judges using their decades of experience in the legal practice of neutrality to assist individuals, organizations and communities in resolving disputes. In this case, the facilitator requested a service called neutral analysis and was given the names of four judges to select from, none of whom he had never worked with in the past, lived in the District boundary, or had children or grandchildren attending school in the District.
He then connected and met with Judge John Flaherty to go over the facts of the case, review all of the decisions he was planning on making, and make use of the legal and impartial expertise of the judge to ensure that all decisions were arrived at with no bias. After that the judge would remain available for consultation by telephone and email if additional issues showed up.
This was a wise decision by the facilitator to seek additional support from someone with decades of experience in the legal practice of neutrality. Two heads are always better than one, and 50 years of combined experience are much better than 15 years of experience in dealing with complexities. This is a major collective effort by many people who devote much time, energy and passion to achieve their desired outcomes for our community. Shouldn’t we take seriously the decisions required to set it up, establish selection criteria, determine its composition, and ensure proper diversity and balance?
Initially there were seventy-six (76) applications received by the deadline. Over the next few weeks, six (6) individuals withdrew their applications for a variety of reasons, most of which had to do with lack of time. Of the remaining 70 applicants, 17 of them were parents and residents in the school district, who were also teachers or staff working for the District.
The controversy was conveyed to the facilitator in strong oppositional terms. Some community members from the Lynbrook area believed that no District-employed teachers or staff should serve on the committee, as they would feel pressured to take positions or vote in ways that were consistent with District administrators’ leanings.
Teachers and staff who applied to serve on the committee felt that their knowledge about school culture, student motivations, and the educational code were assets that would benefit the committee. They argued that they too were legal residents in the District, and their children’s quality of education was also at stake. They were acting on their own best interests as members of a free society, and to deprive them of the opportunity to serve on the committee would be unfair. Furthermore, as members of their own collective bargaining units, their independence from District administration was well established.
The facilitator and the judge discussed the issue at length, and made the decision in favor of the teachers and staff who were also parents and staff in the District. However, two additional actions were recommended by the judge, and implemented by the facilitator, to prevent any possibility of bias, no matter how slight:
- All seven (7) teachers and staff who were selected were contacted personally and advised that they were selected as parents and residents, not as teachers or staff, and the school district and its administration would have no authority over how they chose to participate in the committee. They also acknowledged in writing that if they ever felt any inappropriate pressure for them to take a certain position or vote a certain way in the committee, they would contact the facilitator immediately, who would take action to address this problem.
- The facilitator will provide anonymous voting in committee activities requiring voting, as long as any member of the committee requests it.
As mentioned previously, seven (7) teachers and staff were selected out of seventeen (17) who applied. This works out to roughly 41%. In comparison, of the 53 others who applied, 22 were selected, or 42%. Be aware that the percentages just worked out that way, as it was not the intention of the facilitator to select proportionately more or less teachers and staff than those who were not teachers or staff. They were all treated as parents and residents in the District, and the percentages were not a goal or target he was aiming for.
On this page, you can see a list of all the selected members of the CAC. When they applied, they were aware that if selected, their names would be published on the web site. However, many of them specifically requested not to have their contact information published for fear of being targeted for attacks by individuals within some social media groups in the community. We have complied with this request to date.
The applicants who were not selected have not given their permission for their names to be published. The facilitator has emphasized that because there were only half the number of seats as there were applicants, many excellent candidates were disappointed. A few were extremely upset by this news and communicated their feelings to the facilitator. To ask them for permission to publish their names as “not selected” would seem to be adding insult to injury. Furthermore, no one was asked to list their professions on the application form, other than teachers and staff who had to identify their school and position. In that case, posting applicants’ professions publicly may seem to be an unfair action with a bias against those who are teachers and staff.
The facts are explained clearly in this FAQ, as are the names of all members of the committee who are investing time and energy to study and discover collaborative solutions to the enrollment challenges facing the District. You are welcome to talk with any of them to hear how they really feel about the composition of committee and the caliber of their fellow committee members.
Here is the current composition of the 29 parents and residents who are voting members of the committee:
- 12 out of 29 from Lynbrook HS area (41%)
- 6 out of 29 from Cupertino HS area (21%)
- 6 out of 29 from Fremont HS area (21%)
- 3 out of 29 from Homestead HS area (10%)
- 2 out of 29 from the Monta Vista HS area (7%)
Please make up your own mind about the CAC activities and progress reports based on facts, and insist on evidence whenever someone sends you rumors and innuendos. Continue to send your questions/comments to us at CAC2016@fuhsd.org, and we will share them with the members of the CAC, and provide you with a prompt, truthful and accurate responses.
The CAC facilitator alone made the selections using the criteria that he developed with community input and approved by the retired judge. He said, “I asked no one, and no one told me who was involved in the cell tower situation." He offered his regrets to those applicants who were not selected, and asked them to continue to stay informed about what can be done to sustain the highest quality of education to all the students in the school district.
On January 12, 2016, when the Board of Trustees made the decision, it was documented as follows in the Board meeting minutes:
To form a District-wide citizens’ advisory committee to study the enrollment needs of the District and all its aspects to provide a report and findings in order for the Board to make decisions for implementation in the 2017-2018 school year.
All five high school attendance areas are inter-dependent, and an action taken to increase enrollment at Lynbrook might draw students from other high schools, resulting in an enrollment decline at those schools. Understanding these inter-dependencies will allow the CAC to be more knowledgeable, and their recommendations to the Superintendent and the Board much more effective.
This was the most challenging decision that the facilitator and the retired judge made together, having taken on the role of being objective neutrals in the situation. They deliberated the two main arguments that had been submitted:
Option A: This is mainly a discussion about what to do with the declining enrollment at Lynbrook HS, 50% of the residents and parents should come from this attendance area.
Option B: This is an advisory committee on District-wide enrollment, and all five high schools are inter-dependent with regards to enrollment stabilizing actions, therefore 20% of the parents and residents should come from each attendance area.
They concluded during their deliberations that Option A was too Lynbrook-centric, and Option B did not give enough weight to the impact of any actions taken to stabilize enrollment at Lynbrook which may primarily impact enrollment at Cupertino High School and Fremont High School. The CAC facilitator and the judge considered different percentages and eventually settled on the following:
- Lynbrook HS - 40%
- Cupertino HS - 20%
- Fremont HS - 20%
- Homestead HS - 10%
- Monta Vista HS - 10%
As a reasonableness test, they looked at the percentages of applicants from each of the attendance areas, and saw that they were very close to the above proportions:
- Lynbrook HS - 42%
- Cupertino HS - 20%
- Fremont HS - 19%
- Homestead HS - 10%
- Monta Vista HS - 9%
- What is the makeup of the committee, and how will balanced representation be ensured?
- In selecting CAC members, shouldn’t we give higher priority to property owners rather than renters in the attendance areas? Owners have a lot more at stake, whereas renters can just move away whenever their children are finished with school.
- Of the teachers who are in the CAC, how many teach STEM subjects rather than liberal arts subjects? This ratio should be balanced because both perspectives are important to the excellent education quality in all of our high schools.
- What is the procedure for assembling the committee? What is the process for the committee to do its work?
- How was the facilitator selected, and how can we be sure that he will do a satisfactory job with this committee?
- How can we make sure that the facilitator will not be biased in favor of the Superintendent who made the decision to hire him?
- Please publish the names and email addresses of all committee members so that we can contact them with questions or concerns related to the work of the committee.
- How can I find out about what happens at the CAC meetings? How will the process and eventual CAC recommendation be transparent to the community?
- Is there a minimum of meetings that I am required to attend in order to serve on the Citizens Advisory Committee?
- Why does the application ask for information about volunteer activities and leadership roles in schools?
- Why is it that the application wants to know if I have any children and where they go to school?
- I understand that the CAC meetings will not be open to the public. Isn’t this a Board committee subject to the requirements of the Brown Act?
Assuming the current enrollment projections are accurate, which the committee will verify, Lynbrook High School is the only school in the District with an enrollment decline, and therefore Lynbrook will have the largest number of participants in the committee compared to other high school attendance areas. Each of the options that may be used to stabilize enrollment for Lynbrook may have an impact of varying degrees on the other high school attendance areas, so representatives from other FUHSD high schools are required. Community members and current and future parents of our high school students will be included, as well as teachers and students who will need to understand and respond to how the options will impact them. A small number of school and District staff will be needed to serve on the CAC as subject matter experts to the committee because their knowledge and information regarding scheduling and enrollment will be essential to deepen the understanding of the CAC members.
The sentiment is understandable, but for the committee selection process to favor owners over renters could be considered an illegal discrimination. If a parent or legal guardian resides in a school district, their child’s attendance area is designated by the publicly elected school board for that district. The law regarding public education makes no distinction between owners and renters, and the only valid consideration is their legal place of residence.
This was not used as a criterion for committee member selection. However, it turned out that three members of the committee have taught Math and Chemistry, and three others have taught liberal arts subjects. In addition, committee members have served on the FUHSD Math Advisory Council and volunteered for Science Fair, Book Fair, Music Booster and Athletic Booster programs. There is excellent diversity of interests in the committee.
On April 1, 2016 the CAC webpage on the FUHSD website was launched and included information about the CAC facilitator, the schedule of meetings, and an application form that interested parties can download from the FUHSD website. Applications can be submitted by mail, by email or fax and must be received by the deadline of April 22, 2016. Selections will be completed and invitations issued to committee members by the middle of May, as the first committee meeting is on May 25, 2016. Final committee selection will be made by the CAC facilitator and determined in adherence to the goal of forming a committee that is representative of a variety of stakeholders throughout FUHSD. The main criteria for selection include:
- A passion to contribute to the highest quality of education for ALL students in the District.
- A willingness to be open-minded in examining facts and verifying information
- A commitment to seek win-win or compromise solutions with other committee members, since the goal of stabilizing enrollment involves complex issues and multiple alternative solutions
- Leadership and affiliations with PTA/PTSA or community groups which yields the ability to assist in the dissemination of information to the larger community
- Ability to be present at all meetings of the committee
The committee will hold ten meetings, typically on a Wednesday evening from 6:30 to 8:30 pm at the District office. A hot meal will be served at 6:00 pm before each meeting.
The first meeting will be organizational in nature, going over goals, tasks, process, priorities, agreements, and expectations between committee members. A communication process will also be determined so that the larger community can monitor and communicate to the committee regarding its progress.
Several meetings will be devoted to examining and confirming information, such as the enrollment projection information, funding and bond programs, physical and educational capacity, boundary differences vs. Cupertino Union School District, enrollment and relationship to classes, sections, programs, student performance, diversity, property values, and college admission implications.
Several meetings will be devoted to clearly understanding the options available to stabilize enrollment, such as boundary change, area of choice, open enrollment, or existing program relocation, the pros and cons of each one, and especially their multi-faceted and District-wide consequences.
The rest of the meetings will be focused on developing solutions, building partial or full consensus, and preparing the report and presentation to the Superintendent and the Board of Trustees.
As this is a Superintendent committee and not a Board committee, its working meetings are not going to be open to the public. To ensure transparency a detailed report will be published after each meeting. All questions and comments should be addressed to CAC2016@fuhsd.org.
Pursuing a comprehensive and measured process, FUHSD consulted with a number of community members and FUHSD staff in order to obtain the name of an individual who has a proven track record of successful facilitation for organizations, large groups, and communities. FUHSD feels fortunate to have retained the services of Minh Le, President of the Wilfred Jarvis Institute in Cupertino, to facilitate the Citizens Advisory Committee because of his qualifications, thoughtful leadership, and strong desire to serve the community.
Mr. Le is clear that as a facilitator his commitment is to listen to and care about every person who has a stake in the quality of the education received by every FUHSD student. However, in order to be effective in his role, he will maintain neutrality and impartiality with regards to the proceedings and final recommendations of the committee. His independence is an asset to the committee, and a benefit to the committee’s work.
Once the CAC members have been selected, their names will be published on this website. However, rather than including the email addresses of members of the CAC, members of the community who want to send questions or comments to the CAC are invited to use the CAC2016@fuhsd.org email address and this information will be provided to CAC members.
The communication process from the CAC to the community will be prompt and frequent. Following each meeting a summary of what transpired at the meeting will be posted on this website. We anticipate that in the Fall the CAC will submit a recommendation to the FUHSD Board of Trustees and this recommendation will be shared in full on this website before it is presented at a FUHSD Board meeting.
Selection will be based on the five criteria listed under question two above. On the application there is a space where an applicant can indicate how many meetings will have to missed due to a schedule conflict. That information will be taken into account in evaluating the applicant’s qualifications compared to other candidates.
This is one of the criteria for selection. The rationale is that volunteer experiences in local schools and leadership roles in school-related organizations are correlated with knowledge about education, experience in working with parents, teachers and students, and the ability to connect to or influence a larger network of people in the community.
We want to make sure that each of the following groups of participants is represented in the committee in appropriate proportions: students, teachers, current and future parents and community members. If an applicant’s student’s attendance area is one of our high schools, the applicant will be considered as a current parent. If the attendance area is a Cupertino Union School District or Sunnyvale School District school, the applicant will be considered as a future parent. In addition, see the answer to question one above regarding the makeup of the committee, and why some of our high school areas may have more representatives in the CAC than others.
Once the Superintendent considered the timeline for decisions and the need to have the group consider a large amount of information, the Superintendent chose to create an ad-hoc Superintendent’s committee. Although this committee is not subject to Brown Act requirements, FUHSD is focused on transparency for the public including having the committee members act as liaisons to the community so that they can receive community input and bring that input to the meetings. The committee members can freely discuss issues with the community outside of the confines of an agendized meeting.
The facilitator's criteria for committee members will allow the selection of people with passionate voices, as well as those who have leadership and affiliations with community groups to maximize two-way communication. We will share as much in terms of minutes and topics on the website as we can in an effort to make the process highly transparent.
As President of the Wilfred Jarvis Institute, Minh Le has been a leadership and organizational effectiveness trainer, coach, mediator and team development facilitator for organizations, large groups, and communities. His clients include high-tech companies, non-profit organizations, public sector agencies, and educational institutions. Before beginning his current practice twenty-two years ago, Minh spent eighteen years with four high-tech companies in sales, marketing, program management, and general management roles.
In his independent role as the facilitator of the Citizens Advisory Committee, Mr. Le is committed to listening to and caring about all stakeholders with an interest in this issue while maintaining his neutrality and impartiality regarding the proceedings and outcomes of the CAC.