Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times | Terms of Service | Privacy Policy

New budget group at work

Molly Shore

Anticipating that the Burbank Unified School District will have a

$4-million budget shortfall because of reduced state funding, members

of the superintendent’s budget committee are scrutinizing next year’s


budget for cuts to close the deficit.

“This year, we’re looking at everything. I don’t think we’ve left

any stone unturned,” Supt. Greg Bowman said, adding that last year,

cuts were made to only 20% of the budget.


The preliminary work of identifying expenditure reductions or

elimination was given to Bowman’s staff, he said. When they completed

the list, it was handed over to the budget committee to prioritize

each item.

Bowman said more than 100 areas of potential reductions are


“It was a brainstorming process with no sacred cow,” Bowman said.

The committee will consider closing schools during July, when the


buildings were previously open to janitors, said Debbie Kukta, the

committee chairwoman and a member of the Parent Teacher Assn. The

group is also considering reducing transportation costs by

restricting student travel to various competitions, she said.

“We’re looking at perhaps limiting travel or asking the Booster

Club to pick up the tab,” Kukta said.

The committee members will finalize their budget recommendations

by May 1, Kukta said. School board members have to approve all cuts


before July 1, when the 2003-2004 operating budget must be finalized.

Member Lynn Perske, who is the principal at Jefferson Elementary

School, said after the committee makes its recommendations, Bowman

will present the list to the board of education.

“I’m moderately optimistic,” Perske said. “I think there are some

other places where we can be making cuts instead of in the


However, Perske admits it will be hard to implement cuts because

the district still does not have any indication from the state on the

amount of money it will receive for the coming school year.

When Bowman formed the 16-member committee, he included more

parents than had been on last year’s budget advisory committee. In

addition to parents, the committee consists of two members of the

business community, union representatives for teachers and other

employees and principals from elementary, middle and high schools.