School district’s plans aren’t good for children
I have lived in Burbank for more than 17 years. And although I
don’t have children, I am a substitute teacher for kindergarten
through fifth grade in the Los Angeles Unified School District. I
know firsthand how hard it is to teach these days.
Many children are learning to speak English, and 20 students in a
classroom takes every bit of my energy. Many children who aren’t
“getting it” have to be individually helped -- not to mention all the
paperwork, parental support and everything else that teachers do.
Many Burbank teachers have been put on notice that they might lose
their jobs if the number of children in classrooms is increased. This
will be harmful to children and teachers.
On an economic level, many people move to Burbank because of the
schools. We need to find alternative ways of funding our schools.
Let’s hope when we have a new school board in place, that board
will work with the city in finding the money to allow our children to
receive a decent education.
Solve the school deficit with a local tax
This is in regards to the current crisis in the Burbank Unified
School District’s budget, and I wish to propose the following.
Why not set up some kind of special property tax district for
Burbank, whereby there would be a yearly special assessment for the
local schools? This could be set up to be voted on annually (for
example, the assessment must be renewed each year by the voters),
which would become a community referendum on the quality of our
As with the libraries and school bonds, many people will howl that
we do not need any new taxation. This might be true in the larger
sense that most of our taxes (income tax especially, but also sales
taxes) disappear into the great maw of state and federal government,
never to be seen again in visible form in our community.
A local tax of this kind, however, is just that. It benefits the
community directly, by assuring funding for our schools. Good schools
are the major component for property values, so even those who do not
have children attending our public schools can benefit from such a
As noted above, this could be set up on a temporary basis in that
it can be approved or repealed each year, thus putting the onus on
the BUSD to prove it is using the money productively. Voters, on the
other hand, can decide whether they are getting their money’s worth.
In sum, the school deficit is too big to be solved by the usual
methods of slash-and-burn budgeting. It is big enough now to require
big ideas outside the box.
Write to elected officials about dire state of education
With California’s public schools already underfunded, the
governor’s proposed drastic cuts in education spending will hurt our
schools at a time when our students are making progress and schools
are burdened with state-mandated reforms.
Denying our students the education they deserve is not the way to
resolve the state budget crisis. Any deeper cuts to our education
resources will destroy the momentum and roll back efforts to improve
student performance. We cannot continue to meet the goals of the
state’s testing and accountability programs if the state will not
provide the adequate resources to help our students succeed.
Locally, the reduction in force of more than 251 teachers,
counselors and nurses impacts our students directly. BUSD must look
at utilizing cash reserves and cutting administrative expenditures
before targeting the people and programs that are crucial to student
achievement. In particular, class-size reduction in kindergarten
through third grade and ninth grade are in immediate danger. Talk of
flexibility simply means the district can manipulate the amount of
funding that goes to the classroom. Two or five kids per class across
the district can amount to big bucks by reducing the number of
teachers needed. The savings would be in fewer teachers but larger
classes. The result would be “stack them deep, and teach them cheap.”
Our legislators need to hear from our parents and the public.
Please write to our representatives:
* Assemblyman Dario Frommer: 111 E. Broadway, Suite 205, Glendale,
* State Sen. Jack Scott: 215 N. Marengo Drive, Suite 185,
Pasadena, CA 91101
* Rep. Adam Schiff, 35 S. Raymond Ave, Suite 205, Pasadena, CA
Tell them to press for the approval of the proposed $30 billion in
state aid to education, which has already passed as an amendment to
the budget resolution. The House Budget Committee must now act to
approve this amendment and send it to the House for a vote.
DIANA ABASTA AND KIM ALLENDER
Co-presidents, Burbank Teachers Assn.