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Burbank needs to put education first My...

Burbank needs to

put education first

My husband and I have owned our home in Burbank for almost 15

years. We have two daughters who attend Roosevelt Elementary School


and both of us work in the city.

I’m so tired of writing letter after letter about the education

budget crisis to anyone who can read. I am spearheading a

demonstration for education to focus community attention on the need


to put education first and teacher pink slips last. As we are finding

out, no programs are safe in Burbank schools, including the Gifted

and Talented Education, or GATE, program.

For those of you unfamiliar with the program, it is to the gifted

child what books on tape are to the blind student. Many children

would not be able to meet their potential without it.

I decided to begin a crusade urging the powers that be to consider

reclassifying the GATE program in a way that would allow parents


whose children are in the program to be charged an annual fee for

participation. My argument is that, much like athletics in high

school, the program is open for everyone to “tryout” for, yet

acceptance is limited to those who “make the team.” Let us think of

it as “athletics for the mind.”

To support this argument, I contacted Vice Principal Jay Gudzin at

John Burroughs High School to see if I could get some specific

figures on the fees associated with the various sports programs at


Burroughs. I e-mailed him and received a response from Emilio

Urioste, the school’s principal, saying, “I have no intentions of

eliminating the GATE program. This is also the position of the

[Burbank Unified School District]. The state of California controls

GATE funding and includes it as part of the 64 categorical programs.

The people we should be lobbying are our state representatives.”

While I agree that we should be lobbying state representatives,

the fact of the matter is that Lilly is saying we are in a crisis as

far as the funding for the program is concerned. Consequently, no

matter how lofty our intended commitments are to various programs at

our schools, without the funding, these programs will continue to

disappear until education as we know it will be obsolete.

Until the individuals put in charge of our children’s education

take initiative to respond to the needs of their students in a

forward-thinking manner, the quality of education will continue to

decline until it hits rock bottom.

And for those who think this doesn’t concern them because they

don’t have children in Burbank schools, think again. The real-estate

prices in Burbank are a reflection of the salability of homes with

good public schools in their area.

Nikki Capshaw


Without Rogers, paper is toothless

The Burbank Leader has lost its bite. A good columnist who doesn’t

pull any punches in his comments on local politics is what

distinguishes a “real” newspaper from one that is merely a weekly

roster of hometown homilies.

Will Rogers’ rhetoric could be stinging at times -- enough to keep

local politicians sleeping with one eye open, and maybe holding them

to their best behavior a little more than they might be inclined to

otherwise do. Their foibles and inconsistencies may now quietly slip

by those of us who don’t attend council meetings and aren’t privy to

the inner machinations of our city’s administration.

Count me with those who will feel a pang of loss when the paper

arrives Wednesday and Saturday mornings. There is an empty, echoing

void where Mr. Rogers column used to be. And his wry humor will be

sorely missed.

The City Council and school board, (with their attending gadflies)

can stop watching their backsides for teeth marks, breathe a sigh of

relief and get down to business as usual.

Jennifer Rabuchin