Amassing 53.5% of the vote, former Burbank High School teacher and
co-athletic director Dave Kemp was the only candidate in a field of
15 to win one of the three school board seats in the Feb. 18 primary
Kemp, 63, recently sat down with the Leader to share his thoughts
on the school district, and to talk about his upcoming term, which
starts May 15.
THE LEADER: After years of teaching, why did you decide to run for
KEMP: I wanted to give back some of the things I got from teaching
at Burbank High School.
L: Some residents were not happy with the way the current school
board handled the budget crisis and its dismissal of former district
Supt. David Aponik. How would you have dealt with these issues?
K: Well, that’s difficult to say because I don’t have the
information they had. I think a mistake the board made was not
letting the public really know what was happening.
L: How will you be able to create a budget by June 30, if the
state has not indicated how much money it will allocate the district?
K: That is one of the questions boards of education all up and
down the entire state of California are going to ponder at length.
It’s really difficult to set your staffing when you don’t know what
your finances are going to be. I think we need to involve more people
in the community to study our spending priorities -- the way the
district allocates and spends money. Maybe there are ways in which we
can solve some of these problems without just axing jobs.
L: How can the school district make up for the loss of education
K: Without being a taxing authority, it’s very difficult to
maintain programs or start programs without a guaranteed funding
source. It’s my understanding that if somebody wanted to just say,
“I’ll bail you out and give you $4 million and solve your problem,”
the state would look at that and say, “Well, that’s $4 million that
you don’t need from us.” To go to the community and ask them for
funding for extra things would be very difficult to sustain without
that guaranteed funding from the state. I’m a little hesitant to try
to get started because even if we were successful in raising enough
money in the community to start a particular program, we couldn’t
sustain it over a long period of time.
L: Are the various provisions of the No Child Left Behind Act
practical in light of reduced state education money? (Provisions of
the No Child Left Behind Act include increased standards in math,
reading and science, and testing every student’s progress toward
K: I think some of the tenets of No Child Left Behind are pretty
sound. They want to make sure that test scores continue to go up. And
they want to make sure that every teacher is fully qualified with a
credential. Our children are best served by fully-credentialed
teachers. However, if we’re laying off people and we can’t fulfill
some of those provisions of No Child Left Behind, it’s a formula for
L: How will your years as a teacher benefit you on the school
K: During the campaigns when we had the forums ... my background
enabled me to answer questions more easily because I’m familiar with
how schools operate.
L: What will be your biggest challenge as a new school board
K: Restoring confidence to the board [will be] a monumental task.
L: What are your thoughts about the increase in testing in schools
K: I hope we don’t get caught up in this idea that testing is the
only thing we do in school. When we get so focused on testing, we
don’t give students a chance to really explore education because they
have to spend all their time concentrating on taking a test.
L: Do you think more vocational classes should be offered in high
K: My answer to that is absolutely yes. Not every child is going
to be college material, not that they are not capable, it’s just that
a lot of them choose not to go. I think we need to have an
opportunity for these children to learn skills.