Ann Crosbie, Candidate for Fremont School Board
Ann Crosbie is an incumbent School Board member. Her website is at crosbie4kids.com
1 – What have been the biggest challenges facing your School District and how did you tackle them?
Under-funding is our biggest challenge. Historically FUSD was a “low-wealth” district. This meant that we were receiving less money than other districts in CA (due to an antiquated formula). When the downturn hit it was all hands on deck. We put as many funds as possible into the classroom so that instruction wouldn’t fail. This has left our facilities in dire shape. (Our newest school is 25 years old. Almost all the rest were built in the 50s.) Now that we have a new school funding formula under Prop 30, we are stabilizing just in time to be slammed with unprecedented growth. FUSD has added 750 students above projections for each of the last three years or approximately an elementary school’s worth of students per year. We don’t have a single seat free but the new developments keep coming. Our projections indicate that we will need to add 5 elementary schools, 1 middle school and 1 high school.
I have the time and energy to advocate for FUSD. I was part of team who met with developers near the new BART station and, after more than a year of meetings, they have agreed to build a new elementary school on their dime. I went with a team to the State Allocation Board and we were able to convince them to agree to allow a higher level of developer fee – Unprecedented! I was part of a team who met with developers and Tom Torlakson to try and reach an agreement for funds above what is required under statute. We came away from the meeting with an additional $7.5 million dollars above the regular developer fees for a new classroom wing. I didn’t do these things on my own but I participated and contributed to the outcome. I had the time and desire to advocate for our students.
2 – Do you believe there are systemic problems with racial/sexual/gender-based or other discrimination in your district’s schools? What have you done to address them and how will you address them in the future?
I am working with the district to get Gender Spectrum to come to FUSD for training in a proactive effort to meet the needs of ALL of our students www.genderspectrum.org. I have been working with the ACLU and Alameda County Office of Ed to push for – not only our district but surrounding districts – to become compliant with ed code when teaching sex education in our schools. I have attended the HRC conference to learn more about what we can be doing.
3 – Do you believe the school-to-prison pipeline is operational in your School District? What have you done and/or propose to do to close it down?
The tag line on my email is “If you think education is expensive try ignorance” because I believe that when we fail our students at school we doom them to a life of struggle. In FUSD we are putting in place Restorative Justice to find ways to address misbehavior that doesn’t strip students of their dignity.
I will be attending the California School Board Assoc Hispanic Caucus conference in Del Mar in September to learn what else we can be doing to support our students.
We are working to put interventions in to the school year so that students don’t wait until summer to receive support and be successful.
4 – Have you supported having police officers on campus? Why or why not?
We have a partnership with Fremont Police to have School Resource Officers on our high school campuses. They work with our counselors to find supports for students at risk. It has worked on our school sites without any abuses or overstepping reported.
5 – What limits to students’ freedom of expression and privacy do you think are appropriate for public schools?
As someone who has been involved in art and theatre my whole life, I am a strong believer in expression but, more than that, I believe that it is important to teach what theatre and art movements were influenced by and grew out of civil unrest and their impacts. I believe the suppression of artistic expression leads to fascism and totalitarianism.
As for Privacy, I think we need to be mindful that we serve children and that they can be targets of abuse. However, they do not give up their rights because they are under age. I taught my own children that they have rights and if they are ever pulled in to a school office they have a right to not say anything until a parent is present – even with a police officer.
6 – What do you think the School District should do to offer support to homeless, foster and impoverished children and children coming from violent homes?
This is a difficult issue the district faces. It is a balancing act between making sure that students have services and support available to them and that their privacy is protected. I am on the advisory board of Ohlone College EOPS.
This last summer we put in place a summer lunch program for our students who might not have enough to eat without such a program.
As for violence, our district does regular trainings on what it means to be a mandatory reporter. I have personally called the district to alert them of a possible abusive situation. We need to do everything we can to protect children from violence. I am a regular supporter of SAVE in Fremont
7 – What should the District do to tackle problems of truancy?
The best thing we can do to address truancy is to make school a place students want to be. We try to make sure students who are struggling are assigned an adult who knows to make regular contact and to watch out for students at risk. There was a student I know of who had a regular date with a teacher to check in once a week. The student’s attendance was uneven but he never missed the day when he was scheduled to meet with that teacher. School is personal and for some students it is the only place they are valued and acknowledged..
8 – Given the explosion of autism diagnoses, what is your plan to make sure children and their parents are getting the proper support?
I have a brother with special needs and have had a neighbor who’s son was autistic. Having watched the process that family went through, and understanding the impacts on a family with a child with special needs, I think the most important thing our district can do is be proactive. I have been a member of the Mission Valley Special Education Local Plan Area Advisory Board. I have attended parent workshops and been in regular contact with our parents of students with special needs.
9 – Are you running as a Berniecrat?
If Bernie had won the DEM nomination I would have worked hard to be sure he was elected. I agree with many of his concerns.