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Missed filing costs school

Molly Shore

Failure to apply for federal funding has cost Burbank Adult School an

estimated $208,000, and left one administrator red-faced.

Principal Tim Buchanan, speaking at Thursday’s school board

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meeting, told members he was informed last month by the California

Department of Education that the adult school would not receive a

Federal 231 Workplace Investment Act grant for the 2003-04 school

year.

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The deadline to apply for the funding, which is administered

through the state agency, was April 18. But Buchanan contends that

neither he nor anyone in his office remembers seeing any notification

of a deadline date.

“I can’t think of anything in my 35-year career that I’ve agonized

over,” Buchanan told the board. “I’m embarrassed about it, and I take

full responsibility.”

Jean Scott, an administrator in the state adult education office,

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said Buchanan didn’t contact her office until six months after the

application was due.

“There was adequate notice,” Scott said. “It was publicized

everywhere for a good period of time, including e-mail, a letter to

district superintendents and on our Web site.”

The school, at 3811 Allen Ave., assists adults in obtaining their

General Education Development diploma, and offers a variety of

classes, including those in parent education and English as a second

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language.

To avoid a repeat of the problem in the future, Buchanan said he

has signed up for an e-mail service that will advise him of any

federal money that might be available.

Following Buchanan’s announce- ment, the board approved an

increase in tuition and class fees to help recoup the loss of

funding. The board also voted to eliminate the equivalent of seven

full-time employees and reduce one full-time classified employee to

part-time.

Nancy Gascich, the district’s personnel director, said just two

employees will lose their jobs, and one employee has decided to

retire.

“Other than that, we’ve been successful in finding [them] other

positions -- in some cases better positions,” Gascich said.

With the higher tuition fees, school revenues are expected to

increase by approximately $25,000 per semester, said Alexis Sheehy,

the district’s secondary education director.

The remainder of the shortfall will be made up by a loan from the

district’s general fund, school board member Dave Kemp said. When the

funds are restored next year, the general fund will be repaid, Kemp

said.

“The loss of this year’s grant was a very, very unfortunate

slip-up,” he said. “But I admire Mr. Buchanan for stepping up and

assuming responsibility.”


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