When Burbank Unified students begin a new school year Thursday, they
will encounter new teachers, administrators and programs -- and in
some cases, ongoing school construction and a reduction in services.
School district administrators predict 15,288 students will be
enrolled in school before the end of the month, a slight drop from
“I won’t know for sure until I see the white of the eyes,” said
Alexis Sheehy, the district’s director of secondary education.
Nearly 200 teachers who received layoff notices in March because
of the district’s budget crunch were rehired, and will be joined this
fall by 40 new teachers, said Kim Anderson, the district’s
coordinator of professional development.
“Everyone’s coming back renewed and energized and ready for the
challenges the school year has to offer us,” Anderson said.
While budget cuts spared most teachers, some administrators,
counselors, nurses and custodians weren’t as lucky.
Some middle school campuses will have fewer assistant principals
and counselors, and the equivalent of 14 full-time custodians have
been eliminated throughout the district.
The district’s custodial services overtime budget also has been
cut in half, from $132,964 last year to $66,482 for the 2003-04
As a result, classrooms at every school in the district are going
to be cleaned every other day. Last year, elementary school
classrooms were cleaned every day. Restrooms and kitchens, though,
will still be cleaned daily, Sheehy said, adding that afterschool
events such as dances, athletic events and open houses will be
affected as well.
“Absolutely, it’s going to be a challenge,” she said.
Anderson, meanwhile, said district employees would have to make
the best of reduced staff and services.
“Everybody in the instructional services department has taken on
new roles in addition to what they normally do to take up the slack,”
Anderson said. “Other departments are feeling the pinch as well.”
Bruce Osgood, at Burbank High, and Daniel Hacking, at Muir Middle
School, will begin new tenures as principal. Other recent
appointments by the board of education include Hani Youssef as
assistant principal of discipline at Burbank High, and Ron Andrus as
assistant principal at Miller Elementary School.
The district will unveil a new standards-based language arts
program for students in kindergarten through fifth grade, and for the
first time in a decade, high school students will receive new French
and Spanish textbooks, Sheehy said.
Despite fears that class-size ratios would grow as a result of
proposed layoffs, Sheehy said existing ratios would not change.
For kindergarten through third grade, there will be a maximum of
20 students per teacher, the same ratio for ninth-grade English and
math classes. For every other classroom, 30 students per teacher is
the maximum, she said.
Students attending Muir Middle School and Burbank and Burroughs
high schools will be greeted by ongoing construction. Other schools
received upgrades over the summer break.
“I think that parents and students are going to be excited to see
the new facilities,” Sheehy said.