Burbank school district weighs funding priorities

Burbank Unified is one of thousands of school districts across California in the midst of creating plans for how best to spend additional state funds on students, and they're seeking input from educators and parents as well as through an online survey.

Known as the Local Control and Accountability Plan, or LCAP, the three-year financial road map goes hand in hand in with the state's new funding method for K-12 education, and all school districts are required to create them for next school year and have them approved by their school boards.

The district's base operating budget for the current 2013-14 school year totaled $115 million.

Under the state's new funding method, about $1.1 million more in supplemental funds were meant to target Burbank's 1,800 English-language learners, its 5,100 low-income students, its 1,780 special needs students and roughly 50 students who are in foster care.

Burbank school officials are still uncertain about how much additional revenue they will receive next school year under the new funding method.

In February, a committee of district and school administrators, parents and community members who don't have children attending Burbank schools met for the first time as the 60-member LCAP committee.

Of those involved, Burbank parents with children in local schools make up the largest segment.

They will meet again on April 8 and 15 before they review a draft of recommendations on how the school district should prioritize the money it receives from the state for next school year.

For the past five weeks, a survey on the district's website has asked respondents to prioritize where they think the money should go, such as technology, additional employees or facility improvements.

The spending plan will consider survey responses and input from educators and others before it goes before the Burbank school board on June 5.

The school board must adopt the plan before July 1.

"Over the last five years, there have been so many cuts made to education," said Hani Youssef, director of student services for Burbank Unified.

In all, Burbank educators and students have warily withstood $100 million in budget cuts during that time.

Although this school year marked the first in several years that the state didn't cut Burbank Unified's budget, the extra funds coming in are just a trickle.

"There is very little being given back," Youssef said. "What we need to do with that very little is get the biggest bang for our buck."


Follow Kelly Corrigan on Twitter: @kellymcorrigan.


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