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City, schools look to share burden

Molly Shore

Anticipating deep cuts in state funding, the board of education and

the City Council this week discussed cost-saving measures that would

be beneficial to both.

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“We have a real desire to work together,” Mayor Stacey Murphy said

during Wednesday night’s joint meeting at the Buena Vista Branch

Library. “For a lot of years, we didn’t want to communicate with each

other, but now we see a real positive outcome of pooling our

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resources.”

Board President Trish Burnett said the purpose of the meeting was

not to unearth a quick fix but to find long-term solutions to budget

problems shared by the school district and the city.

Fellow board member Paul Krekorian said district budget cuts

totaling nearly $3 million go beyond fat and muscle, and have cut

into bone.

“We really are at the limits of what we can cut and operate,”

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Krekorian said. “Last year much of the fat, if there was any left,

was cut.”

With the city facing its own budget deficit, City Manager Mary

Alvord encouraged an open dialogue with the school district about

sharing costs of gasoline purchases, elevator maintenance, technology

collaboration and warehouse consolidation.

In response to a request by Councilman Dave Golonski, a status

report on shared costs will be issued in 45 days.

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“I want to know that if we hit some barrier where we can’t

proceed, that we intercede,” Golonski said.

The dialogue between the board and council members also included

utility reductions offered by the city to the district, and

fund-raising efforts benefiting the school district.

Alvord suggested the possibility of using the city-owned Burbank

Center Stage, home to the Colony Theatre and the Creative Art Center,

as possible venues for school district fund-raising events.

“What’s ours is yours,” she told board members.


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