About 28 full-time employees will be laid off at the end of the school year after the Burbank Unified Board of Education voted unanimously Thursday to take the cost-cutting measure.
Positions recommended to be eliminated include, but are not limited to, elementary music teachers, elementary physical education teachers, special education teachers, single-subject teachers (in English art, social science and math), program specialists, an elementary assistant principal and a counselor.
The corresponding reductions in cost, estimated at $2.65 million, would help address a budget deficit, according to the district’s report.
Burbank Unified anticipates a structural deficit of $3.2 million for the 2020-21 school year and a larger deficit in the following year “due to lack of funding from the state, grants and declining enrollment,” according to the report.
“These are positions on here, but these are people. I know each of them by name,” said Sarah Neimann, the Burbank Unified assistant superintendent of human resources.
Although the board voted in favor of the layoffs, they also agreed it was a heartbreaking choice for students, teachers and the community.
“I’m so sorry,” school board member Steve Ferguson said to the people affected. “Hopefully we have an outcome where this isn’t necessary. But we either have this or we have no school district.”
He added, “This is quite possibly the worst vote you can make as a board member.”
His board colleague Roberta Reynolds noted the district is a “business whose resources are made up of people, and the only significant way to reduce expenses is to reduce [the number of] those people.”
“Public education is the crown jewel, in my opinion. It’s the equal opportunity for every single student,” said Diana Abasta, president of Burbank Teachers Assn., during the public comment portion of the school board meeting.
Neimann said the resolution “is the first required document and this only touches half of what we are looking at in terms of budget cuts.”
About 25 to 30 classified employee layoffs will be announced in March and April.