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School district’s plans aren’t good for children...

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

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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

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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

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receive a decent education.

GAYLE RAY

Burbank

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

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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

schools.

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

tax.

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.

MAUDE HAM

Burbank

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,

CA 91203

* State Sen. Jack Scott: 215 N. Marengo Drive, Suite 185,

Pasadena, CA 91101

* Rep. Adam Schiff, 35 S. Raymond Ave, Suite 205, Pasadena, CA

91105.

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.


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