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Trashing a gridiron tradition

Tim Willert

Beginning this month, spectators will be asked to pick up after

themselves and administrators will have to lock up at high school

football games because of budget reductions.


In the past, Burbank Unified groundskeepers and custodians have

provided setup and cleanup at home games played by Burbank and John

Burroughs high schools, which share Memorial Field on the Burroughs



But drastic cuts to the district’s maintenance and operations

budget have forced administrators at both schools to take matters

into their own hands.

While grounds crews will continue to chalk the field before games

and custodians will clean restrooms afterward, the field and the

stands might not be thoroughly cleaned for up to two days.

“It will be still be cleaned, but not in as timely a manner,” said

Helen Quail, director of activities and athletics at Burbank High.


“These are some of the choices we have to make to maintain our

athletic programs.”

To balance the district’s 2003-04 budget, spending had to be

reduced by about $4 million. Custodial services -- which includes

money for overtime and weekend hours -- was cut in half, from

$132,964 to $66,482, according to Alexis Sheehy, the district’s

assistant superintendent for instructional services.

Beginning this year, the school district will allocate money to


use for setup and cleanup of all afterschool events to individual

schools, Sheehy said.

Burbank and Burroughs will receive approximately $20,000 each,

which has to last the entire school year. The district’s three middle

schools will receive between $2,500 and $3,500 each, while the

elementary schools will get between $700 and $1,500 apiece.

“It’s something we don’t have a lot of control over,” said Jay

Gudzin, director of athletics and activities at Burroughs High.

“We’re going to do our part to make it as cost effective for us as


Burroughs High Principal Emilio Urioste plans to promote a spirit

of altruism among spectators at football games and those who attend

other afterschool events, including dances, open houses and athletic

events affected by the reductions. Spectators will be asked to pitch

in and do their part to keep the stadium as trash-free as possible.

Booster club members, he added, have already volunteered their


Quail said the absence of custodians after games means spectators

need to be more aware of their surroundings.

“The most important thing is that spectators take it upon

themselves to clean up after themselves,” she said.

Administrators from both schools, meanwhile, will be responsible

for setting out yard markers, attaching padding to goal posts,

setting up the sound system and locking up following games.

“All of us have had to reevaluate how the services that we get

from custodians are utilized,” Urioste said. “It’s basically taking a

look at our resources and deciding how best to use them.”

As a result, custodians will not be able to thoroughly clean the

stadium until the Monday following a Friday night football game. When

games are played Thursdays, the stands and the field will be cleaned

the next day during regular school hours, officials said.

“Friday night, the stadium will not receive the grade of treatment

it traditionally has,” Urioste said. “It would get a preliminary

cleanup, and then receive an intense follow-up early Monday morning.”

Unless, of course, Bellarmine-Jefferson plays a Saturday home

game. Bell-Jeff, a private Catholic school that shares Memorial Field

with the two high schools, pays Burbank Unified a fee that covers

setup and cleanup.

“If anything can be deferred to regular working hours, [it will

be],” Gudzin said.