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
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
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
Jean Scott, an administrator in the state adult education office,
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
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
Nancy Gascich, the district’s personnel director, said just two
employees will lose their jobs, and one employee has decided to
“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
“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