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
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.