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From the ball fields to the board room

Molly Shore

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

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election.

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.

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THE LEADER: After years of teaching, why did you decide to run for

school board?

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

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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

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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

dollars?

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

those standards.)

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

failure.

L: How will your years as a teacher benefit you on the school

board?

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

member?

K: Restoring confidence to the board [will be] a monumental task.

L: What are your thoughts about the increase in testing in schools

today?

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

school?

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.


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