High school rivalry extends to school construction

Molly Shore

A John Burroughs High School teacher and the school’s booster club

president claim construction and modernization projects at crosstown

rival Burbank High School have received preferential treatment.


According to Burroughs English teacher Jill Sullivan, the

8,500-square- foot library at Burbank High serves 2,400 students,

while the 5,600-square- foot Burroughs library serves 2,300 students.

“The teachers at Burroughs have been called whining ingrates,”


Sullivan said. “We are overjoyed to teach in the comfort of a new

climate-controlled school ... but our comfort level is not what is

important. A school’s function is to enable, and at best, enhance,

student learning.”

Booster club President Gary Stevens has requested that school

board members take immediate action on change order items for

Burroughs’ performing arts department and auditorium.

Many of the items should have been included in the original scope


of the project, Stevens said, adding that the requests have fallen on

deaf ears.

“The John Burroughs High School auditorium is the largest indoor

theater in Burbank,” Stevens said. “If it had modern computerized

lighting and a computerized sound system, it could be rented out and

be self-funding.”

Stevens, a graduate of Burbank High, has seven nephews attending

the school.


“I’m not upset at what they’ve gotten,” he said. “I’m upset at

what we haven’t gotten.”

Stevens also questions the justification for building a

76,000-square-foot gym at Burbank High and a 54,000-square-foot gym

at Burroughs.

Ali Kiafar, chief facilities and development superintendent for

the district, downplayed the claims, pointing out that Burroughs has

two gyms, including one with a mezzanine.

“One of the things we tried to do from day one is to make things

as equitable as possible,” Kiafar said. “But no two schools can be

exactly the same.”

Former school board member Elena Hubbell, a Burroughs graduate,

was a member of the high school design committee along with fellow

Burroughs alumna and board member Connie Lackey.

“Being on the design committee, there’s no way we would ever have

slighted Burroughs,” Hubbell said.