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Burbank Unified officials finalize budget without increasing proposed teachers’ raises

In less than a month, representatives from the Burbank Unified School District and Burbank Teachers Assn. will get together in the latest scheduled round of contract negotiations.

While the sides have shown flexibility on issues such as hours and association rights, the size of a salary increase may have hit a stalemate heading into the next meeting on Aug. 2.

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The district did not increase the size of raises from its initial offering before voting, 4-0, to finalize the proposed 2018-19 school budget during its second reading during a special meeting on Wednesday.

According to education-code requirements, the board needed to adopt a budget before the start of the new fiscal year on July 1.

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“It’s the same information that we presented at the last board meeting,” said David Jaynes, assistant superintendent of administrative services, referring to the district’s budget. “Nothing has changed since then. The only thing that is different is that [Gov. Jerry Brown] did actually sign the budget, and he did not veto anything, which is amazing.”

Burbank Unified’s budget was first presented on June 21 and then was read again Wednesday after Gov. Jerry Brown released the state budget earlier that day.

One change with this budget compared to previous years was that a specific salary percentage was set aside for raises prior to the conclusion of negotiations.

“The difference is that, in the past, we have not actually included it in the budget until we had finalized that,” Roberta Reynolds, board president, said. “So, this does include the implications that we offered.”

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There had been some hope from union members that the district would increase its offer after Brown’s budget translated into $78.4 billion in funds for K-12 schools, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The local district did not make any changes, however, leaving its current offer of a 1% one-time scheduled raise, a 1% increase retroactive to July 2017 and a .25% hike retroactive to January 2018 as its proposal.

Those numbers fall short in comparison to the teacher association’s counter proposal in April of a 5% salary increase retroactive to July 2017.

“We’re still in negotiations and, as you’re planning next year’s budget, [we ask you] to remember that you can’t put students first when you put teachers last,” said Lori Adams, a member of the teacher association’s negotiating team, at the meeting Wednesday. “Plan your biggest items first and, we’re the biggest chunk, as you like to remind us frequently, so plan for it.”

Adams added, “We have some money coming in over the next three years. There’s at least [a cost-of-living adjustment of] 2½% planned, so we can plan for the future. I hope we can get creative to settle this year’s budget sooner rather than later.”

When asked if the district could up its offer, Jaynes said he was not as optimistic.

“We can’t afford it,” he said. “We’ll make that clear when we meet on Aug. 2.”

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