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Worried teachers leaving district

Molly Shore

When the new school year begins in September, as many as 100 local

teachers might be working in other districts due to the number of

preliminary termination notices handed out in March, union officials

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said.

Burbank Teachers’ Assn. co-President Kim Allender estimates the

district is losing five teachers a week because educators who

received the notices are looking elsewhere for employment.

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“The Burbank Unified School District is hemorrhaging teachers at

an alarming rate,” Allender said.

Although Allender painted a grim picture of teacher exodus from

the district, Supt. Gregory Bowman said he does not believe the

statistics Allender presents will be so high.

Bowman said the district has rescinded 53 of the 237 pre- liminary

termination notices handed out March 12. Final notices must be sent

out by May 15.

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“As word gets out that we’re rescinding notices, people may think

twice [about leaving],” Bowman said.

The district was able to rescind about 20% of the original layoff

notices when it received updated enrollment projections, meaning the

district will receive more Average Daily Attendance money from the

state, Bowman said.

Nevertheless, Cate Conwell, a fourth-grade teacher at Miller

Elementary School, is not waiting to see how the financial picture

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improves for the district.

Conwell said she could not afford to wait and see if she would get

a final notice.

“The thought of having to start over was quite horrifying,

actually,” said Conwell, who has taught in the district for two

years.

To protect her future, Conwell applied at the Saugus Union School

District and was hired. Conwell said she will begin paid training in

July and start teaching in August.

“I was proactive,” Conwell said. “I just got my stuff together

really quickly. I knew this would be happening ... and I wanted to be

ready.”

Conwell said poor financial management by the district is to blame

for all the notices given to teachers. The Saugus district has

reserves in its budget so that it does not have to hand out

termination notices, while Burbank does not have sufficient reserves,

she said.


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