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Republican school cuts ‘catastrophic’

Ben Godar

State Sen. Jack Scott (D-Burbank) and several area school

superintendents gathered outside an elementary school Friday to call

attention to proposed education cuts they called catastrophic.

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Each speaker blasted the Republican budget plan released last

week, which would cut 7% more from public schools in addition to the

3% already proposed by Gov. Gray Davis. Scott said cutting the

proposed $1.8 billion would be equivalent to eliminating 378 schools,

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laying off more than 29,000 teachers or shortening the school year by

13 days.

Burbank Unified School District Supt. Gregory Bowman said it’s

impossible to sustain programs with the current “funding roller

coaster.”

The cuts proposed in the Republican plan would take $11 million

out of Burbank’s $100-million budget, Bowman said. While he was

hesitant to speculate what would disappear in light of those cuts, he

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said 82% of the district’s budget goes to salaries.

Because of the possibility of such cuts, about one-fifth of

Burbank teachers were notified they could be laid off, Burbank

Teachers Assn. Co-President Kim Allender said. The move has led to a

“rock-bottom low” in morale, he said.

While Scott did not present a complete alternative to the

Republican plan, he said tax increases, not just budget cuts, need to

play a role in balancing the state budget.

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