Burbank school officials vote in favor of new charter school aimed at Armenian immigrants

Burbank looks to be getting a new charter school — one aimed at recent Armenian immigrants — following a vote by school board officials last week.

In addressing school officials at last Thursday’s board meeting, Julia Yeranossian-Aghishian said that the school would contribute to the community by providing an educational opportunity for immigrants new to the area.

“We don’t want to take away anything from the Burbank Unified School District. On the contrary, we want to add into it,” she said. “I don’t want to emphasize the Armenian community, but because of the new immigrants…there is such a big cultural difference between where they’re coming from and where they’re at now. We want to bridge that gap, basically.”

Burbank Unified Supt. Jan Britz said told the board she met with Yeranossian-Aghishian and others after the petition was submitted in February.

She said she came away with the understanding that “The purpose of this charter school was really to address our Armenian population in Burbank and nearby communities.”

Yeranossian-Aghishian declined to comment following the meeting, but Britz told the school board that the charter aims to address the transition faced by immigrants and support them with parenting skills while building a foundation for students’ academic success.

School officials said the school would be located on the 3900 block of W. Burbank Blvd. near Hollywood Way.

The charter would not pose any financial impact on Burbank Unified, except for the loss of revenue if Burbank students enroll at the charter instead of in the district. Burbank school officials estimate that if 120 Burbank students were to enroll at the charter, the district would lose about $840,000 in revenue, but caution that the amount is speculative0.

According to a list of parent signatures showing interest in enrolling their children in the school, the children whose parents are interested in enrolling in the charter, reside in La Crescenta, Tujunga, Glendale, Sherman Oaks, Canyon Country, Van Nuys, North Hollywood and Granada Hills, in addition to Burbank.

According to the petition, the charter aims to serve students in the greater Burbank community from kindergarten through the twelfth grade, and strive to make students college- and career-ready and able to compete in a global economy.

Parents who filled City Hall chambers supporting the charter erupted in cheers and applause when all school board members voted in support of the charter. The item will go before them again on July 17 for final approval.

“I will support this and wish you all the best of luck,” said school board member Larry Applebaum.

For parent Armine Gasparyan, who left Armenia 15 years ago, she said she supported the charter school opening in Burbank where her daughter could be immersed in the Armenian community at a nearby school.

Gasparyan said her daughter currently attends a private Armenian school in Hollywood where Gasparyan used to live before moving to Burbank.

“I looked around – I couldn’t find anything in Burbank,” she said, adding that Giligia Charter Academy would fulfill what she is looking for.

“It’s very convenient for me,” she said.


Follow Kelly Corrigan on Twitter: @kellymcorrigan.


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