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Burbank Unified could deny charter school

Burbank school officials are advising that the board of education deny Giligia Charter Academy’s petition to begin operations.

On June 5, the board approved the charter school on certain conditions. Among them, the petitioners were required to turn in the school’s lease information and address by July 7.

But Burbank school officials had not received new information. With the board planning to vote on the charter school on July 17, school officials this week crafted a new recommendation -- to deny the charter.

“That conditional approval had things in writing they had to meet,” said Burbank Unified Supt. Jan Britz. “As a result, we’re taking the action. They’re not surprised because this is the action we have to take because we have to follow [state educational] code.”

The charter’s attorneys emailed Burbank school officials on July 9, stating the petitioners were negotiating with the owner of the property located at 811 S. San Fernando Blvd. near Alameda Avenue, according to a district report.

The site, which is near a Ralphs grocery store and strip mall, is listed on as being 27,612 square feet and renting at $1.35 per square foot, which would be a monthly rent of more than $37,000. A potential renter, according to the site, does not need to take the entire space, but would need to agree to rent at least a third.

“It is clear from the communication that the petitioners have not yet secured that site,” the report read.

School officials are also skeptical of the charter’s budget, and a $300,000 private loan “appears to be the only capital infusion prior to the start-up of the school,” a district report read. “It remains impossible to determine if the school has provided an accurate budget.”

Since the school would not receive state funds until November 2014, the charter’s budget “creates a serious concern regarding how the schools start-up costs and ongoing operations will be financed.”

The charter school’s lead petitioner, Julia Yeranossian-Aghishian, did not return a request to comment on Friday. Her attorney, Janelle Ruley, also did not return a call.

Earlier this month, Yeranossian-Aghishian attended a forum that drew 200 people, many of them with concerns that the charter school would set a new precedent for others to establish themselves in Burbank.

Yeranossian-Aghishian said she hoped to bridge the cultural gap for immigrants new to the Burbank area, and residents questioned whether the school would focus too heavily on Armenian students.

The school aimed to draw students from Van Nuys, Granada Hills, Reseda and Woodland Hills, in addition to Glendale, Burbank and La Crescenta.

Yeranossian-Aghishian planned to open doors this September with about 120 students, eventually increasing enrollment to 400 kids in kindergarten through 12th grade.

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