Burbank board urges state legislature to provide more funding

Following a call to action by the California School Boards Assn., the Burbank Unified School District adopted a resolution during a board meeting Thursday that urges the state legislature to increase student spending.

A unanimous vote was followed by a reading of the 692-word decree, known as Resolution No. 22, by Burbank Unified board member Steve Frinter.

The resolution highlighted many of the shortcomings by the state in regards to student spending, including California ranking in the bottom 10 among states in several categories.

“All of us, all of you, everybody out there, needs to keep yelling loudly that it’s not sufficient to be in the bottom 10,” board member Charlene Tabet said. “That is not good enough, not for the sixth largest economy in the world.”

Burbank Unified’s resolution highlighted that California is 45th in percentage of taxable income spent on education at 2.7%, which falls short of the 3.3% national average.

California is also 41st in per-pupil spending at $10,291 per student, which doesn’t match the $12,252 national average.

There are also 11 students per staff member, good for 48th in the country, and well behind the average of eight pupils per staff member.

The California School Boards Assn., a nonprofit that advocates for nearly 1,000 school districts throughout the state, asked its member districts on Jan. 8 to help pressure the California legislature to increase school funding by passing a “full and fair funding resolution.”

The resolution’s goal is to move California schools to at least the national average by 2020 and into the top 10 states by 2025.

“There was an era when California’s public education system was the envy of the nation, and our schools were as well funded as any in the country, but for decades now, California schools have been asked to do more with less,” said Mike Walsh, the state association’s president, in a statement.

“It’s time we reverse the trend of shortchanging public schools and provide full and fair funding for all students, so they have the resources needed for success in college, career and civic life,” he added.

Part of the local resolution focuses on California’s poor spending on education not meshing with the competitiveness of the global marketplace.

Frinter read a portion of the local resolution that states, “In order to prepare students for participation in a democratic society and an increasingly competitive, technology-driven global economy, California must fund schools at a level sufficient to support student success and whereas, despite, its vast wealth, California has consistently underfunded public education while widening its scope, adding new requirements and raising standards without providing appropriate resources.”

Burbank’s adoption of the resolution also fell in line with what 5-Star education coalition partners — Glendale, La Cañada Flintridge, Pasadena and South Pasadena along with Burbank — were also planning.

“The five-star coalition, of which Burbank is a member, has discussed it,” Tabet said. “The other five school boards have brought it to their boards and have passed it, and so, it’s our turn. And the coalition itself will be bringing it to their next meeting as well to talk and vote it in.”

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