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Bowman said the district has rescinded 53 of the 237 pre- liminary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