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School district faces $4 million in cuts

Molly Shore

Teachers and nurses continue to receive most of the attention when it

comes to budget cuts being considered throughout the Burbank Unified

School District. But housekeeping at schools also could suffer if a

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plan to lay off custodians is implemented.

As many as seven workers who polish the floors, empty trash and

sanitize restrooms could lose their jobs under a proposal being

pondered by a 16-member budget committee.

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The layoffs would mean, instead of being cleaned daily, schools

would be cleaned every other day, according to Steve Bradley, the

district’s assistant superintendent for business services.

“The schools would be a mess,” said Janet Sedholm, the district’s

Parent-Teacher Assn. Council president. “Kids don’t know how to take

care of schools.”

The committee is considering about 100 possible cuts to counter

an anticipated $4-million deficit in the coming school year. Although

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most of the nearly 240 preliminary layoff notices given to teachers,

counselors and nurses in March have been rescinded, about 44 teachers

and four nurses still do not know if they will have jobs in

September.

“I don’t think there’s any doubt about the remaining teachers

getting their final layoff notices,” Burbank Teachers’ Assn.

co-president Kim Allender said this week.

District administrators are expected to make final layoff

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recommendations to the school board during a special meeting at 5

p.m. Monday.

Sedholm would like to see the budget committee cut outside vendor

contracts instead of laying off district employees.

During a two-day hearing late last month, an administrative law

judge upheld termination notices for 44 teachers, but ruled in favor

of the reinstatement of three, and possibly four, nurses. Although

the judge’s decision is not binding on the district, Head nurse Sjaan

Buck said it would be devastating to students if the nurses were

terminated, leaving the district with only three nurses to care for

an estimated 15,000 students.

Supt. Gregory Bowman said it’s not clear how much money could be

withheld by the state, which is struggling to overcome a $35-billion

budget deficit. The governor’s May budget revision is expected to

reflect revenues from January through May, a period that covers

income-tax returns.


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